In the summer of 1905 André Derain, then twenty-five, left Paris for a two-month sojourn with his friend Henri Matisse. They settled in the small fishing town of Collioure, on the southwest coast of France near the Spanish border. The painters had first met in Eugène Carrière's Paris studio in 1899, and it was with Matisse's help that Derain had received his parents' permission to pursue a career in art. During the summer in Collioure the two men discussed art theory and painted canvases filled with bright light, high color, and exuberant, often broken brushwork. Along with Maurice de Vlaminck, they were the major proponents of a short-lived movement known as Fauvism. (The term "Fauves"—"Wild Beasts"—was attached to these artists when their innovative work shocked and offended the sensibilities of viewers at the 1905 Salon d'Automne exhibition in Paris.)
Although Matisse and Derain worked closely in Collioure and painted similar scenes, their styles remained distinct. A painting like "Fishing Boats, Collioure" vividly illustrates Derain's characteristic use of dramatic perspective and diagonal recession into space. We take in the entire panorama from a high vantage point: busy figures on the shore, rocking boats and sails, and the majestic blue and green mountains anchored in the background and capped by billowy pink clouds. The curved shoreline and rhythmic arrangement of overlapping sails lead our eye into the picture. Two seated men, surrogates for the viewer, observe the energetic scene. Derain's palette is Fauvist: vibrant and unnatural. One senses, however, his growing dissatisfaction with this style of painting. The discordant mixture of divisionist brushwork and flat painting and the insistence on heavily outlined images to enhance volumetric form seem contrived and angry. Indeed, Derain was soon to purge himself of Fauvism's impetuosity and go on to produce austere, monochromatic, Cubist-inspired works, several of which are in the Museum's collection.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): a Derain
the artist (presumably one of eighty nine paintings and eighty works on paper sold on November 23, 1905, for Fr 3,300, to Vollard); [Ambroise Vollard, Paris, from 1905]; Stephen Higgins, Paris (by 1962–63; consigned on November 29, 1962, as "La Port Peche", to M. Knoedler & Co., New York; sold by Knoedler, consignment no. CA6483, on February 4, 1963 to Miller); Alfred N. Miller, Montreal (from 1963); sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, October 28, 1970, no. 33, as "Port de pêche, Collioure," to Paul; C. Michael Paul, New York (1970–d. 1982; gift of his sister, Raymonde Paul, to MMA)
Paris. Galerie Charpentier. "XXVIIème Salon des Tuileries," 1952, no. 262 (as "Collioure").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selection One," February 1–April 28, 1985, no catalogue.
Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. "Landscape Painting in the East and West," April 19–June 1, 1986, no. 36.
Kobe City Museum. "Landscape Painting in the East and West," June 7–July 13, 1986, no. 36.
Yokohama Museum of Art. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century," March 25–June 4, 1989, no. 157.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Fauve Landscape," October 4–December 30, 1990, unnumbered cat. (pl. 288).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Fauve Landscape," February 19–May 5, 1991, extended to May 19, 1991, unnumbered cat.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "The Fauve Landscape," June 10–September 1, 1991, unnumbered cat.
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. "André Derain: Le peintre du 'trouble moderne'," November 18, 1994–March 19, 1995, no. 23 (as "Voiliers à Collioure").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 62).
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," September 14–November 24, 2002, no. 8.
Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 7, 2002–March 9, 2003, no. 8.
Le Cateau-Cambrésis. Musée Matisse. "Matisse-Derain: Collioure 1905, un été fauve," October 22, 2005–January 22, 2006, no. 61 (as "Bateaux, Pêcheurs, Collioure").
Copenhagen. Statens Museum for Kunst. "André Derain: An Outsider in French Art," February 10–May 13, 2007, no. 7.
Essen. Museum Folkwang. "Im Farbenrausch: Munch, Matisse und die Expressionisten," September 29, 2012–January 13, 2013, no. 11 (as "Segelboote in Collioure").
"Derain Port Scene Sold for $225,000." New York Times (October 29, 1970), p. 46, notes that its sale to Col. C. Michael Paul at the Parke-Bernet Galleries set a world auction record.
Lisa M. Messinger. "Twentieth Century Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1982–1983. New York, 1983, p. 61, ill. (color).
Kay Larson. "The Met Goes Modern: Bill Lieberman's Brave New Wing." New York Magazine 19 (December 15, 1986), ill. p. 45 (color).
Lisa M. Messinger inTreasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Exh. cat., Yokohama Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1989, pp. 195–96, no. 157, ill. (color).
Michel Kellermann. André Derain: Catalogue Raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Vol. 1, 1895–1914. Paris, 1992, p. 36, no. 59, ill., as "Voiliers à Collioure".
Miriam Simon inAndré Derain: Le peintre du "trouble moderne". Exh. cat., Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Paris, 1994, pp. 114, 467, no. 23, ill. p. 119 (color).
Jean-Louis Ferrier. The Fauves: The Reign of Color. Paris, 1995, ill. p. 81 (color).
William S. Lieberman. Painters in Paris: 1895–1950. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2000, pp. 59, 122, ill. p. 62 (color).
Joséphine Matamoros inMatisse-Derain: Collioure 1905, un été fauve. Exh. cat., Musée départemental d'Art moderne, Céret. [Paris], 2005, pp. 17, 289 n. 32, p. 295, no. 61, ill. p. 131 (color), identifies the site as "Plage du Voramar, vue sur le fort Saint Elme".
Rebecca A. Rabinow inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 196–97, 248, no. 181, ill. (color and bw).
Isabelle Monod-Fontaine inAndré Derain: An Outsider in French Art. Exh. cat., Statens Museum for Kunst. [Copenhagen], 2007, p. 18.
Dorthe Aagesen inAndré Derain: An Outsider in French Art. Exh. cat., Statens Museum for Kunst. [Copenhagen], 2007, p. 79, no. 7, ill. p. 67 (color).
Sandra Gianfreda inIm Farbenrausch: Munch, Matisse und die Expressionisten. Exh. cat., Museum Folkwang. Essen, 2012, pp. 139, 291, no. 11, ill. p. 143 (color).