Andre Derain was born just outside Paris and at age 15, began to study art on his own. He met Henri Matisse while taking painting classes in 1898. Two years later he met Maurice de Vlaminck and they began painting together and shared a studio. Derain served in the military from 1901-04 and after his service devoted himself entirely to painting, but only after Matisse persuaded Derain’s parents to allow him to give up engineering. The two collaborated until 1905 and they showed at the Salon d’Automne, debuting as the Fauves, or Wild Beasts as they were called as the bold colors were perceived as shocking for the period.
The famous art dealer Ambrose Vollard took Derain under his wing and sent him to London to make a series of paintings of the City. Using bold color and compositions he produced exciting new images of the Thames and Tower Bridge, via the latest Pointillist technique.
By 1907, Picassos’ dealer, Kahnweiler bought Derain’s entire studio, securing his financial stability to make a move to Montmartre and get closer to Picasso and other artists. There he shifted from the bold Fauvist palette to more muted tones, influenced by Cezanne and also Cubism. By 1913, Derain exhibited in NY at the Armory Show; he gained momentum as a new leader of renewed Classicism and tradition. The 1920s were the height of his success and when he was awarded the Carnegie prize and exhibited extensively abroad. During the War and or the rest of his days, he lived primarily in Paris.