The Fauvists got their name from a 1905 Paris exhibition which caused a French critic to compare their paintings to fauves or 'wild beasts.' Unwittingly, the critic helped to unify the group, for the exhibition launched the movement in full force. Matisse was its chief supporter, but there were contributions from many artists, including Andre Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Rouault and Georges Braques. Fauvism as a movement was less cohesive and conscious then other movements, such as Impressionism. It lasted in an organized way for a period of five or ten years, but artists borrowed from its principles freely for years to come and continue to do so today.
The main feature of Fauvism is a very free approach to colour. The Fauvists revered Van Gogh for using colour to express emotion or experience, rather than simply to imitate the natural world. Matisse carried this idea further. His paintings were all about colour. For instance in his Goldfish paintings, it's apparent that the subject is not so much the goldfish bowl as the interaction of colour.
Although Matisse liberated colour from its conventional representational use, he still used it judiciously. When painting a still life, he would often drastically change the colours he saw. This did not mean that there is no order or unity within his paintings. The colours work together in sublime harmony. In this way, his paintings emit their own sense of order and meaning.
Fauvism means an art movement launched in 1905 whose work was characterized by bright, non-natural colours and simple forms. The word Fauvism comes from the french word "fauve" which means "wild beast" and describes a short lived movement in art.
Fauve is beast in French...therefore there are bold shapes and colors used in this art form.