Fauvism was accepted as a new art movement in 1905, after the fading of Post-Impressionism. Most critics never appreciated Post-Impressionism for its unsettling manifestations. In 1905, most critics considered the Fauvist style to be equally unattractive. However, unlike the criticism endured by Post-Impressionism, many critics slowly began to appreciate the Fauvist's style. From this point on, critics learned to slowly accept individual taste and freedom in rebellious artists.

Fauvism officially began with an art exhibition called the Salon d' Automne. The artists gathered here to exhibit their newest works. Andre Derain showed his landscape drawings with variants of bright red and yellow. Some critics denounced Derain's paintings for its spontaneous and unfinished appearance. The critics were also shocked by the work of Henri Matisse, who showed a troublesome and extremely unorthodox painting of his wife entitled Green Strip.

The painting might not have appeared unorthodox at all, had Matisse changed one element. The work was an average portrait, but rather than having traditional skin tone colors, Matisse gave his wife a green nose. During this time, to contrast a human form with a different tonal color was considered harsh, and seen as a form of eccentricity. However, the Fauves left the Salon d' Automne with a considerable amount of success.

For being so apparently wild in most of their paintings, the art critic Louise Vauxelles coined the art term Fauvism, which is French for wild beasts. While many of the art critics attending the exhibition hissed at the Fauvists, most of the public enjoyed their work. At the time, they felt that the Fauvists' work was the most advanced in Parisian art.

The leader of the Fauvist movement during their four-year reign was Henri Matisse. Matisse began his artistic experiences in 1895, when he enrolled himself in a prominent and highly prestigious art school called the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. While there, he received some of the instrumental elements that would influence him throughout his life. His instructor, Gustave Moreau, encouraged his students to master both traditional styles as well as individual styles. When asked about his former instructor, Matisse said, "He did not set us on the right roads but off the roads. He disturbed our complacency. With him each one acquired the technique that corresponded to his own temperament." Matisse followed the direction of his instructor, and began to work on paintings with bright colors. The Fauves would later adopt this style into most of their own paintings.

As was the common practice in 1905, most artists gathered at local cafes. This was no different in the case of the Fauves. In fact, two Fauvists, Andre Derain and Maurice Vlamnick at one time shared an apartment and studio. The two painted together, and shared their early experiences with one another. Derain was the more passive of the two. His paintings were usually of lighter color, and had a less pronounced image. More than Vlamnick, Derain looked up to Matisse for inspiration. Vlamnick on the other hand, was a self-taught painter, who also had a flair for the dramatic.