It was the summer of 1905. Matisse was joined by Derain at Collioure for a summer holiday. The rich blue of the sea, the pastel of the houses, the red and green of the boats and the yellow ocher of the sand inspired their works which displayed incredibly vibrant brush strokes and colors. The passion and energy of the paintings were visible for all to see and people started referring to the artist’s as “Les Fauves” or the wild beasts.
What I love about Collioure is that it is seems to have remained unchanged from the time when the Fauvists were here. You can walk around the town and follow a trail of replica paintings hung at the very spots where the artists painted their masterpieces. Stand where they once stood and gaze at their present and reflect on your own. The medieval streets wind away from sandy bays where fishing boats are docked, flowers twist their way around old doors, the royal castle looks down upon a stone causeway against which the sea crashes and catches tourists unawares. Rock pools, fish, gulls and a rainbow of colored houses spilling off the mountainside. Just when you think it couldn’t get much prettier, you turn the corner and see the once lighthouse, now converted into the church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, its large cross dark against the blue water and the yellow cliff and the town walls, built all the way up to the sea’s edge.
I went there with my best friend Laura, whom I met when I was 9 years old at primary school and we have remained friends ever since. We had a big seafood platter lunch, with lobster, crab and shellfish on the sea front at alovely french bistro and then walked around and did some shopping in the little boutique side streets. I bought a really nice white cotton top and some pottery. The shops here sell some great local produce, so its a great place to buy some super lovely souvenirs 😉
Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”), a loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. Characteristics of Fauvism include warm and cold colors juxtaposed to add excitement and left almost unblended, the emotional quality of color was emphasized,drawings were simplified, there was no attempt at 3D drawing as most areas of the canvas were left “flat” and a dark line can often be seen around some elements.