When he was only fifteen years old, André Derain received his first painting lessons from his friend La Noé. In this period he painted his first landscapes. Between 1898 and 1900 Derain attended the "Académie Carrieère" in Paris while at the same time working with Matisse and Vlaminck in his studio. The artists become important friends. Derain's studies of painting were interrupted by three years of military service, after which he continued his studies at the "Académie Julian". André Derain spent the summer of 1905 with Matisse in Collioure and exhibited his Fauvist pictures at the Paris "Salon d'Automne" that very same year. Having spent several months at Avignon with Picasso in 1908, Derain was influenced by Cubism. In 1910 André Derain participated in the Munich exhibition of the "Neue Künstlervereinigung", and the " Blaue Reiter" exhibition that followed a year later. Derain's "période gothique" began in 1912. During this period the artist painted his most original works, which were shown at the "Armory Show" in New York and the "Erster Herbstsalon" in Berlin in 1913.
During the 1920s André Derain mainly stayed in Southern France, where he painted his famouse pierrots, harlequins and numerous dancers. In 1928 Derain was awarded the Carnegie Prize in London, which is linked with a large exhibition.
The following two years Derain had further important exhibitions in Berlin, Paris, New York and Brussels. In 1935 the Berne "Kunsthalle" organized a first major retrospective of his works. In the same year André Derain moved to Chambourcy. During the 1930s the artist received numerous commissions by the Paris opera to design costumes and decoration. In 1932 he also illustrated Ovid's "Heroides" and in 1938 Oscar Wilde's "Salome". One year earlier, in 1937, he participated in a retrospective exhibition of the "Indépendants" in Paris.
In the early 1940s André Derain mainly worked in Donnemarie, returning to Chambourcy in 1944 after the liberation from the German occupation. In 1950 he produced illustrations for works by Saint Exupéry and for La Fontaine's "Contes et Nouvelles". During the following years, the artist created an extensive sculptural work. One year before his death André Derain designed sets and costumes for the opera "The Barber of Seville", but then he suffered from an eye condition. Despite his gradual recovery, André Derain died in a car crash in 1954. Most recently, his ouevre was honored with a large retrospective at the "Musée d'Art Moderne" in Paris.