As far back as the Victorian era, Paul Signac and Henri-Edmond Cross, both French neo-impressionist painters who helped developed the pointillist style, loved to paint the sailing and coastal life in Collioure.
However it was perhaps the artists of the early twentieth century that are most famous for living and painting in this village. Henri Matisse and André Derain were modern artists who lead the Fauvism movement. It was known as the style of the Fauves, which is French for “Wild Beasts”. These paintings were bold with what looked sometimes like wild brushstrokes and very vibrant colours that were often applied directly from the tube rather than mixed. This was a departure from the traditional methods previously used and as a result caused quite a stir. When visiting Collioure, make sure you walk the Fauvism trail that follows spots from where famous pictures were painted.
In the 1920’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a Scottish architect and water-colour artist along with Rudolph Ihlee an English engineering draughtsman both lived in Collioure and created beautiful geometric landscapes that demonstrated their incredible technical skills.
And of course another famous set of artists – Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali both of Spanish descent, lived and painted in the 1950’s in the town of Collioure. They would often bring their artist community to the village and it is said that they would pay for their drinks at local establishments by painting works of art.
Today you can easily understand the continued traditions of many artists just by strolling down the streets and laneways that are full of studios and galleries. These artists are passionate about their trade and love for you to stop and chat with them. They show off their work and tell you pleasant stories about how the sky was just a specific blue one perfect evening and how that inspired one particular detail. From the professional galleries in town to the folks selling their sketches at the side of the Royal Palace, we have found all of these people to be open, friendly and truly genuine. The longstanding tradition of creativity is evident around every corner – and this scenery continues to inspire people from all over the world. See what happens when you visit. You may just feel the desire to create something magical!