1 : of or relating to painters practicing fauvism
2 : vivid in color
Did You Know?
When French art critic Louis Vauxcelles spotted a statue reminiscent of 15th-century Italian art in the midst of works by an avant-garde group of painters—principal among them Henri Matisse—at an exhibit in Paris in 1905, he verbalized his shock with the words "Donatello au milieu des fauves!" ("Donatello among the wild animals!"). His reaction was to the painters' unconventional use of intensely vivid color and free treatment of form, and apparently his words weren't far off the mark in describing their art: Matisse and company's art movement became known as "Fauvism" and the artists flourishing in it, the "Fauves." In 1967, the intense impact of their colors was still vibrant, inspiring one writer for Vogue to use fauve as an adjective to describe the colors of a "striking" flowered coat—and that use can still be found today vivifying colors.
"Fauve colors brought sizzle back to tableware, but could you really eat off a Rorschach of orange, black and pink?" — Julie V. Iovine, The New York Times Magazine, 14 Mar. 1993
"Three were landscapes…. The other was a later painting of Adele, pale and strained, standing in a big hat with her arms loose amid fauve colours of red, mauve and green." — The Economist, 19 Feb. 2011
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to create an adjective that can mean "clothed in vivid colors" as well as "disturbingly vivid": ga _ i _ _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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