Achille-Emile Othon Friesz French, 1879-1949

Biography

Achille Emile Othon Friesz began drawing with a passion at the age of twelve. He enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Le Havre in 1995-96, where he studied under painter Charles-Marie Lhuiller whose other students include Raoul Dufy and Georges Braque. In 1898 Friesz received a departmental scholarship and enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Travelling frequently in search of landscapes to paint, he spent some time in the region of Creuse in the center of France in 1903, and in 1905 stayed in Antwerp with Braque. In 1906-1907, he visited the South of France: La Ciotat, Cassis and Estaque, again with Braque. From 1905 to 1910, at the height of the fauve period, he lived with Matisse at the Couvent des Oiseaux returning for a time to  his native Normandy in 1908.

After an early career as an impressionist, Friesz celebrated the primacy of colour under the influence of Van Gogh and Gauguin, before joining the Fauves.

From 1908, probably influenced by Paul Cézanne, he gradually abandoned fauvism in favour of a more constructivist approach, filling his palette with ochres, browns, greens and attenuated blues. In the 1920s, the fauve elements in his paintings became progressively scarcer before disappearing entirely.