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.


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Artist
André Derain, French, 1880–1954
Title
The Turning Road, L'Estaque
Date
1906
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Canvas: 51 × 76 3/4 in. (129.5 × 194.9 cm) Frame: 58 1/4 × 84 9/16in. (148 × 214.8cm)
Credit Line

Gift of Audrey Jones Beck

Current Location
The Audrey Jones Beck Building
223 BECK GALLERIES
Accession Number
74.138
Classification
Painting
Provenance

Jean Laroche, Deauville; [ Hôtel Drouot, Paris, “Provenant de la Villa Sauge Pourpiée, à Deauville,” December 8, 1926, no. 44]; Robert Blay, Paris, from the artist; Léon Brillouin, Paris; [Arthur Tooth and Sons, London]; Mr. and Mrs. John A. Beck, Houston, 1966; gift of Mrs. Audrey Jones Beck to MFAH, 1974.