Bartolomeo Savona

© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2024. Image credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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Savona was a Sicilian student who was staying in the guest house Derain used during his visit to London in 1906. According to family legend, Savona acted as the artist’s translator when he needed to visit a dentist. He then painted this portrait in three twenty-minute sittings as a gift. Derain uses raw and clashing colours and exuberant brushwork to create a lively and sympathetic image. Similar works had led him, and his associate Henri Matisse, to be dubbed Fauves (Wild Beasts) when they exhibited in Paris in the previous year.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts



Bartolomeo Savona




oil on canvas


H 45.7 x W 35.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased with financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Art Collections Fund, 1997

Work type


Inscription description

Signed: a derain


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Normally on display at

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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