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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
Take a tour through some of the most significant objects in the MFAH collections. On these pages, you can browse 100 highlights from collections throughout the institution. Then visit the Museum in person to discover your own favorites.
 
 
 
ANDRÉ DERAIN
French, 1880 - 1954
The Turning Road, L'Estaque
1906
Oil on canvas

51 x 76 ¾ inches

 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Audrey Jones Beck

Arts of Europe
 
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André Derain’s masterpiece The Turning Road, L’Estaque is a major work of the avant-garde art movement called Fauvism. Typical of the vibrantly colorful style of fauves, French for "wild beasts," the canvas glows with intense colors. Flame-colored trees burn red, orange, and blue. Yellow, the color of sunlight, is everywhere.

This monumental landscape represents the French village of L’Estaque, where Paul Cézanne had painted earlier. The painting's title comes from the road that curves through the scene from the lower right. Derain made his way to southern France in 1905, joining Henri Matisse in developing the essential aspects of a new style together. Their freedom from the constraints of expressing the objective world is celebrated in this image. It is a fantasy in color, a place where reality is overrun by the decorative impulse. The Turning Road, L’Estaque serves as a milestone in the brief, yet crucial art-historical movement of Fauvism, which explored the central tenet of Modernist painting: that the strength of a picture has more to do with colors and the kinds of marks made on the surface of the canvas than with serving as a window on the world.