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Friesz, (Achille-Emile-)Othon (1879-1949)
by Scholes, Robert


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(Achille-Emile-)Othon Friesz (1879 - 1949)

He was born in Le Havre, and enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts du Havre. His main teacher in Havre was Charles-Marie Lhullier, and, like Dufy and Braque, he would maintain warm relations with Lhullier throughout his career. In Havre, Friesz was an avid student of the works of Chardin, Corot, Géricault, and Delacroix. In 1898, he was the recipient of a grant from the École to study in Paris. His friends in Paris included Matisse, Rouault, and Marquet, and, as they were all students of Gustave Moreau, Friesz also enrolled into the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, studying in the atelier of Léon Bonnat with fellow student Dufy. He spent much of his time at the Louvre, making copies of the works by Clouet, Veronese, Rubens, Claude Lorrain, and Delacroix. Friesz finished his military service in 1902 and around this time he met Camille Pissaro, who became a good friend. From 1901 to 1903, Friesz exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français, and at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants. Following the emergence of Fauvism at the infamous Salon díAutomne of 1905 and a painting trip with Georges Braque to Antwerp in 1906, he adopted the bright, anti-naturalistic palette of the Fauves. He became closely associated with Matisse, renting a studio in the same building as him in Paris from 1905 to 1908. In the summer of 1907, however, painting with Braque in La Ciotat, in the Midi, Friesz began to turn to the example of Cézanne, emphasizing structure over color. Later he claimed to have killed Fauvism, but he certainly wounded himself in making this move.

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