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Le Port de Cassis

Charles Camoin

66 x 81 cm

Oil on canvas
Signed lower left: C. Camoin

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The calmness of this harbour scene belies the passionate intensity with which it has been painted. The intense, almost royal blues; the blood-like vermillion; and the humid greens contrast with the cooling white to create a energised yet balanced image. The artist Charles Camoin was a key member of the short-lived, but highly influential, movement in modern French painting known as Fauvism. Working alongside with Henri Matisse, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Henri Manguin and Maurice Vlaminck, he shared their passion for the picturesque nature of Provence and the Côte d’Azur, yet strove to capture it in bold, intense washes of pure colour. Their name derives from ‘les fauves’, French for ‘the wild beasts’, and describes how these artists’ raw, passionate approach unleashed a new boldness into French painting.

Like many of his fellow Fauves, Camoin spent lengthy periods on the Mediterranean coast and the small town of Cassis in particular. It was here, among the cliffs and sheltered inlets of the town, that he produced some of his most accomplished works. Camoin was an important figure in Post-Impressionist painting. He met Henri Matisse in Gustave Moreau’s class at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris; his portrait of Matisse is held in the permanent collection of the Pompidou Centre. Recognised by critics as a central figure in Fauvism, his paintings are held in the Musée d’Art Moderne and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, as well as many of the French regional museums. In 1955, he was awarded the Prix du President de la Republique at the Biennale of Menton

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