Charles Camoin (1879-1965, French)

Charles Camoin catsCharles Camoin (1879-1965, French) was born in Marseille the son of a paint manufacturer. At sixteen, he attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Marseilles upon the encouragement of his mother.  After moving to Paris in 1896, he attended the École des Beaux-Arts there and established a lifelong friendship with Henri Matisse. In Paris he became part of a group called Fauves meaning wild beasts. The movement is noted for the use of vivid colors even though Camoin preferred a slightly less bombastic usage. Many art critics see his style as being closer to Impressionism than Expressionism. However, his works do focus on the interplay of light and color, and Camoin is considered one of the great 20th century artists.

Camoin, Charles - Girl with Cat, 1904

Girl with Cat, 1904

Camoin was friends with and influenced by Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne and Claude Monet. In 1905, he joined other Fauvists such as Kees van Dongen and Louis Valtat and exhibited his works at the Salon d’Automne.

Portrait d’Annette Leibovici au petit chat

In 1912, he and Matisse travelled to Morocco. Sometime around 1915, he started to change his style to concentrate more on light than color. After a visit with Renoir in 1918, he broke with the influence of Cezanne.

Charles Camoin, Jeune fille avec chat

Jeune fille avec chat

Most of Camoin’s paintings that have cats also have women. However, his painting, Mon Chat features his cat sitting at the edge of an open window looking longingly out into the countryside’s distance. Here it seems that the artist wants us to understand that the cat is his and not anyone else’s.

Camoin, Charles (French, 1879-1965) - My Cat before an open window

My Cat before an open window

More than 700 of his surviving paintings have been widely shown and are housed in many museums in France and the United States such as Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many others.

Camoin died in Paris in 1965.

 

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