“My choice of colors does not rest on any scientific theory. It is based on observation, on feeling, on the very nature of each experience.” —Henri Matisse
Meaning “wild beasts” in French, the Fauves (Matisse was their most famous member) alarmed art patrons in the early 20th century by painting landscapes, still lifes, and portraits in shockingly bright colors. Their approach was considered radical for the way it divorced color from its appearance in nature—a woman’s black hat might be rendered in blue and green, the sky painted as yellow. Subsequent artists have continued the Fauves’ experiment—most notably Andy Warhol, whose iconic portrait series of Marilyn Monroe portrayed the American icon in a rainbow of colors, her hair ranging from bright orange to turquoise and her face washed in pink and purple. As Matisse suggested, color can take on its own meaning, and more than a century later, artists continue to picture everyday life through a colorful lens of their own making.