Derain painted this scene in the winter of 1906-1907 during his second trip to London. It is the last painting of his Fauve period.1
During this period, Derain, like the other Fauves, avoided descriptively naturalistic colors and chose instead bright, unaltering pigments applied flat to the canvas. He also altered traditional perspective: the barges are seen from above but St. Paul's is seen at eye-level.During the summer following the completion of this painting, Derain came under the influence of Picasso and Cubism. His series of Thames scenes are considered his best work up to that time. “They sum up for us the character and influence of his career to date. We see that (a) their atmospheric effects are remnants of the impressionist interest in light; (b) the forceful drawing and strong-knit linear designs are hangovers from post-impressionist emphasis on strong construction; (c) the decorative rhythms come from Matisse; (d) the expressive coloring of the forms, from van Gogh; (e) the colors themselves—bold, “raw” yellows and blues and reds—from Gauguin; (f) the dot-dash brushwork or pointillist technique, from Seurat and Signac; and (g) the attempt to bring all these jostling components into harmonious unity, from the old masters. Important to add, the overarching manner is his own.”2Endnotes
Referenced Work of Art
- R. H. Wilenski, Modern French Painters, New York, Reynal & Hitchcock, 1940, p. 219.
- Malcolm Vaughan, Derain, New York, Hyperion Press, Harper Brothers, 1941, p. 41.
- André Derain, French, 1880-1954. St. Paul's from the Thames 1906-1907 (La Cathédrale de St. Paul, Londres). Oil on canvas, 39 1/4” x 32 1/4”. Signed lower left: aDerain. Accession 61.36.9.CollectionsReid-Le Fevre Gallery, London; French Art Gallery, New York; Frank Perls Gallery, New York; P. D. McMillan, Minneapolis, 15 June, 1948; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Bequest of Putnam Dana McMillan, 15 November, 1961.ExhibitedParis, Salon des Indépendants, 1907. New York, Frank Perls Gallery, Modern French Painting, 1946.ReferencesReginald Howard Wilenski, Modern French Painters, New York, Reynal & Hitchcock, 1940, p. 219.
Malcolm Vaughan, Derain, New York, Hyperion Press, Harper Brothers, 1941, p. 57.
Ben Wolf, “School of Paris,” Art Digest, XX:15, 1946, p. 14.