PUY Jean
French painter; born in 1876 at Roanne. It is customary to classify Jean Puy with the Fauves, and it is fitting to respect this custom, as he belonged to the group that created a scandal at the Salon d'Automne in 1905. Jean Puy painted in bright colours even before 1905; canvases of his exist dated 1902 and 1903, of such daring and frankness in drawing and colour that it is possible to trace Fauvism back to that period. Puy's association with Matisse and Derain dates from about 1900, when he was attending courses at the Académie Carrière. Fauvism had no name then, but it already existed. In spite of this, is Jean Puy exactly a Fauve? It seems that he did not arrive at this style or conform to its successive evolutions to obey theories or a system evolved in studio discussions. His work is dominated much more by instinct than by reasoning, the instinct of a painter who experiences a sensuous joy in spreading out and harmonizing colours, in making a form emerge. Sensuousness inspires his nudes, full of robust vitality; a sensuousness based on the hearty appetite, apparent in the still lifes, a sensuousness that commands simplified forms, dictates relations of clear tones in landscapes, animates and transfigures his snow studies. But this instinctive expansiveness never leads to lack of restraint. In his abandon, Jean Puy retains distinction, a natural characteristic with him, that proves his art more controlled than it seems. Nevertheless, if it preserves something spontaneous in all its aspects, it does so because it has never lost contact with Nature. Whatever the subject of the canvas, Puy always conveys an impression of remaining attached to immediate sensation. However, he adopts neither the small stroke nor the division of tones of the Impressionists. He employs mostly a broad, open technique.
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