Artist biographies

Othon Friesz

Othon Friesz (1879-1949) was encouraged to become an artist by his parents at an early age. Together with his friend Raoul Dufy, he started training with Charles Lhuillier in 1891 in his native Le Havre, moving to Paris in 1898, when the town council awarded him a scholarship to the École des Beaux-Arts (class of Léon Bonnat), where he met Matisse, Marquet and Rouault. Friesz joined the Fauves and exhibited with them in 1907. The canvases he painted in this period are some of the most powerful examples of Fauvism. Shortly afterwards, in 1908, he moved to Normandy and abandoned Fauvism. Drawing his inspiration from Cézanne, he focused on the ordering and structure of his works, exchanging his bright palette for more restrained colours. Later in Friesz’s career his work became more sober and traditional as he rediscovered his early penchant for Old Masters such as Poussin and Chardin. At the end of the First World War he moved back to Paris where he lived and worked until his death in 1949.

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