Charles Camoin

Charles Camoin

1879 – 1965

The death of Charles Camoin on May 20, 1965 marked the disappearance of another luminary in the galaxy of Fauve painters.

Born in Marseille on September 23, 1879, Charles Camoin received encouragement early in life to pursue art.  At age seven, he was already spending his mornings studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Marseille.  He met his Fauve contemporaries around the age of nineteen when he entered Gustave Moreau’s studio in Paris.  His peaceful use of color reflects a slight departure from the proverbially vivid style of Fauvism.

Camoin was one of the original group of Fauves, having participated in the famous Paris Autumn Salon of 1905 which set off the Fauve revolution.  For the Fauve painters, color was the primary subject matter.  “Fauve” means “wild beast” and is a term used by a critic to describe the group at the Salon of 1905.  Fauvism was an extremely short lived movement in modern painting and an important one as well. Color was applied to the canvas in ways that had little or no relation to the actual color of the objects as seen, the purpose being to experiment with color behavior.  Among the artists who participated in this were Matisse, Vlaminck, Derain and Braque, Camoin and others.  The group had moved on to different things within a year. Still while Matisse may not have considered himself a Fauvist by 1906, he always acknowledged the importance of the movement. “Fauvism isn’teverything” he said, “but it is the foundation of everything”

Charles Camoin was later influenced by Impressionism and Renoir in particular.  He traveled extensively throughout southern Europe painting with his friends Matisse and Marquet, but he still favored painting French provinces.  He married Charlotte Proust in 1940 and died in Paris in 1965.

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