In 1895, André Derain began to paint while studying for his baccalaureate. In 1900, he met Maurice Vlaminck (1876-1958) and painted outdoors with him in the areas around Paris. Derain joined Henri Matisse in Collioure in July 1905, and it was there he discovered the light of the Mediterranean, which influenced his painting. He exhibited nine of his works in Room VII of the Autumn Salon when the art critic Louis Vauxcelle (1870-1843) labelled the exhibitors “Fauves or Wild Beasts”, referring to their vivid colours. In 1908, Derain spent some time in Martigues, where he painted a series of pre-Cubist landscapes. At the request of the art dealer Kahnweiler (1884-1979), he produced some woodcuts to illustrate the L'Enchanteur pourrissant [The Rotting Magician] by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 -1918).
In 1911, Derain returned to a more traditional style. In 1916, the young Paul Guillaume exhibited his work in his gallery in the Avenue de Villiers in Paris. In 1919, he was asked by Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929) to design the sets for the ballet La Boutique fantasque [The Magic Toy Shop]. This was the beginning of his career as a decorator that would continue until 1953.
In the 1920s, André Derain was considered the best representatives of French painting, and in 1928 he was awarded the Carnegie Prize, which brought him great international prestige. From 1924 until the art dealer’s death in 1934, Derain was under contract to Paul Guillaume. However, his participation in a visit to Germany with a group of French artists in 1941 sullied his reputation and his career forever.
Paul Guillaume owned dozens of Derain’s works from the 1920s and 1930s, and Domenica, who liked his art, kept twenty-eight of them.