Charing Cross Bridge was a popular subject for the Impressionists in London. Derain’s oil painting, from a similar viewpoint to Pissarro’s earlier Charing Cross Bridge 1890, is characteristic of fauvism in its creation of vivid effects through bold contrasts of colour. Updating the views of the earlier French Impressionists, Derain’s river still uses rapid brushstrokes of colour to create the movement and light of the water, but this time rendered in searing yellows, oranges, blues and greens.
Charing Cross Bridge, London
Date of work
Oil paint on canvas 80.3 × 100.3 cm National Gallery of Art, Washington, John Hay Whitney Collection © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017
André Derain (1880 – 1954) was a French artist, painter, and sculptor. In 1898, while studying to be an engineer at the Académie Camillo, Derain met Henri Matisse at a painting class taught by Eugène Carrière. Together, Derain and Matisse co-founded Fauvism – a movement characterised by the bold, unnaturally bright colours that the critic Louis Vauxcelles derided as the work of ‘wild beasts’ (les Fauves).