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Derain's Turning Road and Benton's Haystack

            After visiting the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston for the first time, I observed many interesting works of art representing various time periods. Of all the paintings that I saw today, two landscaped pieces seemed to stick out in my mind; Andre Derain's The Turning Road and Thomas Hart Benton's Haystack. Though these two art works are similar in subject matter, they clearly reflect the different styles and time periods of their artists; the abstract Derain being a Fauvist and the more realistic painter Benton representing the American Scene style as a Regionalist. .
             Andre Derain became an accomplice to the well known Henri Matisse who founded the expression of Fauvism in 1905. Fauve, meaning "wild beasts" in French, was a movement driven by "a desire to develop an art that had the directness of Impressionism but also had the intense color juxtapositions and their emotional capabilities (964)." The Fauves expressively used vivid colors as the "conveyer of meaning (965)" to produce bold and intense images which in turn, awakens the emotions of the viewer. And Derain, being a Fauvist, "used color to its fullest potentialto elicit emotional responses from the viewer (966)" not only in The Turning Road but also in his work The Dance, which perfectly supports the audacious style of Derain's Fauvism. Although this movement did not last very long, the paintings created in this period are vivid and memorable. When the 1930's emerged, the Great Depression took its' toll on artwork. In this period, artists from the Midwest called Regionalists "turned their attention to rural life as America's cultural backbone (1025)." Among these artists was Thomas Hart Benton, who became the leading exponent of American Regionalism and used his paintings to convey scenes about the hardworking rural poor of the Midwest throughout the depression. His realistic scenes of country life stem particularly from the rural historical and social past of Missouri (CM).

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