movement in painting associated with Henri Matisse, 1915, from French fauve, "wild beast," a term applied in contempt to these painters by French art critic Louis Vauxcelles at Autumn Salon of 1905. The movement was a reaction against impressionism, featuring vivid use of colors. French fauve (12c.) in Old French meant "fawn-colored horse, dark-colored thing, dull," and is from Frankish *falw- or some other Germanic source, cognate with German falb "dun, pale yellowish-brown" and English fallow "brownish-yellow," from PIE root *pel- (1) "pale." Related: Fauvism (1912).
updated on October 19, 2017