French, 1882 – 1960
Helene Reading, 1905
Oil on canvas
Gift of Miss Florence Marinot 1971.17.1
In 1905, Marinot exhibited his work in the Salon d’Automne in Paris, where his brilliantly colored canvases were shown with the paintings of Louis Valtat, Henri Matisse, and other contemporary painters. Their work was disparaged by an art critic who called them fauves, or “wild beasts,” and they collectively adopted the term to celebrate their own sense of creative freedom. This intimate portrait of the artist’s sister, Helene Juliette Marinot (1876 – 1960) is an excellent example of Marinot’s vividly colored Fauve style. Bright color is squeezed straight from the tube and applied directly to the canvas without mixing or shading. Marinot’s world, as he sees it, is simplified into vivid shapes of color and pattern.