Jean Dufy was born in Le Havre in 1888 and came from a large and musically as well as artistically very talented family. His older brother was the famous painter Raoul Dufy. Jean Dufy began with a mercantile apprenticeship and only gradually discovered his love of painting.
Visiting an exhibit in Le Havre in 1906, which featured impressive works by Matisse, Derain, Marquet and Picasso, was the key to his decision to become an artist. After his time in the military, from 1910-12, he moved to Paris, and he met with different artists and men of letters there. In 1914, Jean Dufy presented his watercolors for the first time in the Galerie Berthe Weill, receiving great recognition.
Encouraged by this, he continued to work tirelessly, and he drew and painted landscapes, flowers and animals primarily. In 1916, the artist worked together with his brother Raoul for the well-known textile studio Bianchini-Férier, and for over thirty years he developed flower and animal designs for the Lyon porcelain manufacturer Théodore Haviland de Limoges.
In 1925, Jean Dufy received the Gold Medal at L`exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs for designing the service "Châteaux de France". In 1920, he returned to Paris and lived in the artist quarter Montmartre, a direct neighbor of Georges Braques.
The following years were marked by constant exhibitions as well as with his painting and with porcelain. The music and art of the Parisian culture scene during the post-war years influenced Jean Dufy definitively in his power of expression in colors, but at the same time he was drawn time and again to nature and to landscape representation.
For the World’s Fair in Paris in 1937, Jean Dufy and his brother Raoul received a commission from the general manager of the Compagnie Parisienne de Distribution de l`Electricité to design the ceiling (with a size of 600 square meters) for the Pavilion of Electricity. During the years 1950-60, Dufy took numerous trips abroad, and his impressions from these were reflected in his work. Nevertheless, the city of Paris remained his favorite inspirational city subject.
On May 12, 1964, Jean Dufy died in Boussay.