Raoul Dufy

1877 (Le Havre) - 1953 (Forcalquier)

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Portrait de Raoul Dufy


Born in Le Havre in a large family open to art, Raoul Dufy attends college and is later employed in an importing firm, while studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Once granted of a scholarship, he leaves to Paris at the age of 19, with his friend Emile Othon-Friesz. He takes lessons with Bonnat. First influenced by Impressionist and Postimpressionist artists, his style evolves to Fauvism around 1906-1909 after an encounter with Albert Marquet who became a close friend.

After a short Cubist period, the genuine personality of this artist gets obvious : a style combined by an exceptional flair for drawing and color that no other artist matches. Dufy gives free way to the pleasure of drawing curbs and arabesques, suggesting hardly sketched lines. At the same time he creates sketches for tapestries and settings for plays and experiments ceramic art.

In 1919, he devotes himself passionately to watercolor which allows him to render the Provence landscapes, their transparency and their light (…). The shapes gain in lightness and balance, his drawing is faster and passionate. He feels a desire to create which reflects all the joy of an artist at last conscious of his maturity and the happiness of a world now free. Fanny Guillon Laffaille

As soon as 1903 he exhibits with Berthe Weill, and subsequently, in 1913 in New York, Chicago and Boston, he had an exhibit in 1921 with Bernheim Jeune. In 1931 he follows personal exhibitions in Brussels and Zurich, in 1934 in New York, Brussels and Prague. In 1937 he creates the gigantic Fée Electricité’ for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, and so on until 1953 when the Museum of Modern Art in Paris organizes the first major retrospective exhibit of his work, three months after his death.