This oil painting canvas was made by the artist André Derain in 1905, and the work is currently in the possession of the Royal Academy of Art, London.
This is a rather small-format work (38 x 46 cm) made in the French village of Collioure, a Mediterranean town, practically close to the border between the Gallic country and Spain. Derain arrived there to spend the summer in 1905 invited by his friendHenri Matisse, who has also left us several works inspired by that coastal town.
Boats in the port of Collioure de Derain
Quickly, Derain fell in love with the light of Collioure and they both painted together, so the influence of Matisse is noticeable in Derain's works. From him he took the use of a very saturated and bright color palette, as we see in this work by Boats in the port of Collioure. But it is not a style in which only color plays an important role, a characteristic characteristic of Fauvism, but Derain also captures with it the sensations that these landscapes transmit to him.
Based on the use of striking and strong tones, it presents the small beach of this town in a very intense red, which immediately communicates the heat of this coast and the strength of the summer sun.Something really surprising, since the most common representation of a beach had always been based on yellow and cream colors.
And as for the coloring of the boats, he also applies very vivid color stains to them, which does not mean that the Collioure boats were really like that, but that is how Derain saw them. To understand these chromatic games it is necessary to know the thought of the artist, who on one occasion said: “The shadow is a whole world of clarity and luminosity, which contrasts with the light of the sun; this is known as reflections.”
When contemplating this work any viewer experiences contrasts of a simultaneous nature. The color values change depending on the tones that are closest to each other. As an example, you can see that the yellows are much brighter when they are next to the blue than when they appear attached to the red tones.
The whole scene is bathed in the force of sunlight, which beats down on the sea, the beach and the mountains in the background that mark the horizon. The cold green of the water contrasts with the red power of the beach, and on the left side we see the boats that reflect the sun with a saturated yellow.
There are very interesting details to see in the study of the colors that represent these early years of Fauve painting. For example, the boat in the foreground casts a shadow in dark blue and also green to contrast as a complementary color to that of the beach. Or in the case of the figure standing on the right sidehe has outlined it with a blue line. It is not the drawing of that human figure but an element that serves to enhance the luminosity.