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André Derain

André Derain

*  1880 Chatou bei Paris
† 1954 Garches/Seine-et-Oise

Derain received his first painting lessons from his friend La Noé at the age of fifteen, a period in which he painted mostly landscapes. He attended the Académie Carrière in Paris from 1898 to 1900 and shared a studio with Matisse and Vlaminck, who were to become important friends. His studies of painting were interrupted by three years of military service, after which Derain continued his studies at the Académie Julian. He spent the summer of 1905 in Collioure together with Matisse and exhibited his Fauvist works in the same year at the Paris 'Salon d'Automne'. A Cubist influence became noticeable after Derain spent several months with Picasso in Avignon in 1908. He exhibited works in the exhibition of the 'Neue Künstlervereinigung' in Munich in 1910 and in the 'Blauer Reiter' exhibition in Munich in 1911. Derain's 'période gothique', which includes his most original works, began in 1912. These works were exhibited in 1913 in the 'Armory Show' in New York and in the 'Erster Herbstsalon' in Berlin. Derain spent most of the 1920s in Southern France, where he made his famous pierrots and harlequins as well as the dancers. Derain was awarded the Carnegie Prize in 1928 in London. The award was linked with a large exhibition. He had other important exhibitions in Berlin, Paris, New York and Brussels in the following two years. The Kunsthalle Bern organised the first large retrospective exhibition in 1935. In the same year, Derain settled in Chambourcy. The artist was frequently commissioned with the design of costumes and stage sets for the Paris opera during the 1930s. He also illustrated Ovid's 'Heroides' in 1932 and Oscar Wilde's 'Salome' in 1938. One year before, in 1937, he was included in the retrospective exhibition of the 'Indépendants' in Paris. In the early 1940s Derain worked mostly in Donnemarie and then returned to Chambourcy after the end of German occupation in 1944. He began illustrating Saint Exupéry's works and La Fontaine's 'Contes et Nouvelles' in 1950. The artist's large sculpted oeuvre dates from this period. Derain designed the stage sets for the opera 'The Barber of Seville' one year before his death, but then attracted an eye infection. Derain recovered again slowly, but died in 1954 in a car accident. Most recently, his oeuvre has been honoured in a large retrospective exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris in 1994.