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Charles Camoin

Born 1879, France. Died 1965.
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Charles Camoin Biography

Charles Camoin was one of the founding Fauves – a short-lived but profoundly influential group of young French artists whose intense colors and gestural brushstrokes prefigured the expressionist current that would come to define Western art in the 20th century.

Charles Camoin was born on 23 September 1879 in Marseille, France and joined his native city's École des Beaux-Arts at sixteen. After winning a prize for drawing, his mother encouraged his further study at the studio of Gustave Moreau in Paris, where his cohorts included Henri Matisse, Jean Metzinger and Georges Rouault. Moreau, recalled Matisse, “set [them] not on the right roads, but off the roads and disturbed [their] complacency.” In 1905, Camoin et al. participated in the landmark 1905 Salon d'Automne that gave rise to the group's name when the critic Louis Vauxcelles described an academic sculpture surrounded by their vibrant canvases as “Donatello chez les fauves” (“Donatello among the wild beasts”). The Fauves only exhibited together for a few years, but Camoin and Matisse maintained a lifelong friendship, often traveling to the south of France together. Their 1918 visit to Renoir's workship in Cagnes would inspire Camoin's to paint sun-drenched landscapes en plein air. In 1927, the artist was at the center of a landmark legal case after paintings he had many years prior torn into pieces and thrown into a dustbin were pieced together and exhibited by a dealer; Camoin's successful halting of their sale established the important intellectual property precedent of droit de divulgation. In 1962, Camoin was the sole survivor represented in the exhibition Gustave Moreau et ses élèves held at the Musée Cantini in Camoin's native city of Marseilles. He died on 20 May 1965 in Paris.

Camoin's works are represented in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many others.

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