Derain, Portrait of a Woman with Red Hair
André Derain, a “tormented personality, enamoured of form and colour”, as Guillaume Apollinaire describes him in an essay, is a complex artist and important figure in the early 20th-century avant-garde who also enjoyed great success in his lifetime. His not always linear artistic evolution, passing from Fauvism to a fascination with Primitivism and ending with a loudly proclaimed retour à l’ordre, makes Derain a sometimes contradictory,often debated, and always interesting artist. After his debut in the ranks of the Fauves, Derain meditated on the lesson of Cézanne and on African art, two interests that brought him close to Picasso and Braque, though without succumbing completely to the temptation of Cubism. His painting is always characterised by a solidity of construction and a certain severity of structure which bring him closer, however, to the traditions of the past, through a personal reinterpretation of classical figuration. The two works on display here are splendid examples of the volumetric, plastic art of André Derain, sculpted in paint.