Charles Camoin was born on 23 September 1879 in Marseille where he attended both the École de Commerce and the École des Beaux-Arts. In May of 1898 Camoin moved to Paris and entered the studio of Gustave Moreau at the École des Beaux- Arts shortly before the legendary artist's death. Under the tutelage of Moreau Camoin learned to work in a variety of different genres. During his time at Moreau's studio Camoin formed several lasting friendships with fellow students Albert Marquet, Henri Manguin, Jean Puy, Georges Rouault, and especially Henri Matisse. From 1900 to 1902 Camoin entered the military service where he continued to paint and during which time he met Paul Cézanne at Aix-en-Provence and visited the locales in Arles which Vincent Van Gogh painted.
Upon his return from the service Camoin, armed with a strong network of influential friends and a quickly blossoming future, exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Artistes Indepéndants in 1903. By 1904 he had his first solo exhibition in Paris at the Galerie Berthe Weill.
Shortly afterwards Henri Matisse, along with his friends who numbered Camoin, Henri Manguin, Albert Marquet, Georges Rouault, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Kees van Dongen, formed the original group mockingly labeled The Fauves (the wild beasts) for their wild, expressionist use of color and their general refusal to paint like anyone else then showing at the salons. Camoin and these other Fauvist artists were primarily interested in using a heightened color palette and a broader brushstroke as their means of expressing the feeling or emotion of their subject. In 1905 Camoin was part of the "cage aux fauves" at the Salon d'Automne, exhibiting alongside Matisse and André Derain. However, the public was not receptive to their high-keyed canvases, even though Vauxcelles, reviewing the Fauves room at the 1905 Salon d'Automne, commented that Camoin "composes pictures overflowing with healthy, sturdy vigor," and achieves "bold, confident contrasts." By the 1906 Salon des Indépendants, the public, critics, and dealers alike began to hold the works of Matisse and his followers in higher esteem.
During his lifetime Camoin was considered a practitioner of both the Post Impressionist and the Fauvist style of painting, although he never truly and fully adhered to the style of Fauvism or Post Impressionism. Rather he seemed to achieve a balance between the two. Camoin always remained close to Matisse whose portrait he painted and which is in the permanent collection of the Pompidou Museum in Paris, but he also came to admire Cezanne, Renoir, and Bonnard.
Camoin was honored with three retrospective exhibitions during his lifetime and participated in the historic Armory Show in New York City in 1913. In 1955 he was awarded the Prix du President de la Rupublique at the Biennale of Menton. After his death in 1965 Camoin was represented in a large Fauvist exhibition that traveled to Tokyo, Paris, Munich, and Malines and was also exhibited in several posthumous solo shows.
In Fleurs one can trace his fauvist pioneering spirit to the transition toward the use of those colors in a free and expressive style that dominated his later years. Camoin had fashioned a style that was definitely his own. His expressive colors take precedent over any sense of naturalism, representational values, or accurate spatial concerns. The forms of the flowers, the jug, and the table have all been simplified and flattened, yielding a patterned, decorative surface. These still lifes, of which Camoin did many, have a lightness of heart and intent.
Wally Findlay Galleries, New York, 1960s
Estate of Lowell C. Camps
By descent in the family, to present