French landscape and still-life painter, lithographer, wood-engraver, etcher and writer. Born in Paris of a Flemish father and a French mother. Largely self-taught as a painter and attended no art school. Settled in 1892 at Chatou, on the outskirts of Paris, painting in his spare time and making his living mainly as a professional cyclist and a violinist in orchestras. Military service 1897-1900. In 1900 met Derain, with whom he rented a studio at Chatou and with whom he painted along the banks of the Seine. An exhibition of van Gogh in 1901 reinforced his love of pure colour at its maximum intensity. Published three novels in 1902-7. Exhibited with Matisse, Derain and others at the Salon des Indépendants and Salon d'Automne in 1905, when the movement received the name Fauvism. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Vollard, Paris, 1907. Started to use a darker palette in 1908, including black; in 1910-14 was influenced by mild Cubist stylisation and then by Cézanne. After the 1914-18 war, moved away from Paris and began to work in isolation in the countryside, settling in 1925 at La Tourillière (Eure-et-Loir). Published Tournant Dangereux in 1929, the first of a series of memoirs. Died at La Tourillière.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.753