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In the fall of 1905 the works of Matisse, Marquet, Derain, Vlaminck, Rouault, Manguin, Camoin, Jean Puy and Othon Friesz were hung in the same room at the Paris. Because their works had many distortions and were painted with very bright colors, one critic called them "Les Fauves", which means "the wild beasts" in French. Fauvism was not a school, but rather a revolution in which color was the main player.

The Fauvists believed that color was equivalent to light and makes its own space, that there should be no illusionist "chiaroscuro" or modeling, and that the order of the painting should be in very close contact with the emotion that the artist is portraying. Matisse was known as their leader probably because he was both willing older than the rest of them. There was little coherence in their works.

Matisse, Marquet, Rouault and Camoin were all former students of Gustave Moreau, who had been teaching at the school of fine arts in Paris. Matisse has often worked on projects together with Marquet, and were both very much impressed with Expressionism. Due to the other artists' works not being allowed to be hung in other galleries, they exhibited together. Dufy joined the group of exhibitors in 1906; Braque and Metzinger exhibited with them 1907, but by the following year, the Fauves were no longer together as a group. Several of its members had changed their style to Cubism.

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