Andre Derain was born in 1880 in Chatou, an artist colony outside Paris. In 1898, he enrolled in the Academie Carriere in Paris where he met Matisse. After his military service from 1900-1904, Derain exhibited his work at the Salon des Independants and then at the Salon d'Automne with Matisse, Vlaminck and others, thus creating the movement of Fauvism.
In 1906, Derain met Picasso and his dealer, who purchased Derain's entire studio, creating newfound financial success. During this time, he was hired for the illustrations for works by Guillaume Apollinaire and Andre Breton. After World War I, his friend's Cubism movement affected his art, along with influence from Classicism and African Art.
Derain stayed in Paris during most of the Occupation, where he was esteemed by the Nazis because of his artistic integrity. Hitler's Foreign Minister commissioned him to paint a family portrait, but he politely refused. His popularity began to decline after the war because of disagreement over new artistic movements. He later lost most of his eyesight due to illness, which may have been the reason he was hit by a truck in 1954, dying from shock at the age of 74.