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Raoul Dufy

1877 Le Havre
1953 Forcalquier

Raoul Dufy was born in Le Havre on June 3, 1877. The French painter and sketcher was considered a representative of Fauvism. In 1899, Dufy received a scholarship and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris with Léon Bonnart.
His first works were influenced by the works of the Impressionists Pissarro, Gaugin and Van Gogh. Around 1905, Dufy freed himself from the impressionistic manner of painting, fascinated by the pictures of Henri Matisse, and turned to a pure colorfulness and black contours. His primarily maritime subjects were influenced by Cubism during the years 1908-12. Borrowing from the picture composition of a Paul Cézanne, Raoul Dufy reduced his expressive color palette and concentrated instead on structures as well as the construction and use of space in the composition of a picture. At the same time, a few woodcut series were produced as illustrations and subject designs, through which his strict cubistic style in the realm of painting once again began to open up.
After 1920, Raoul Dufy found his way to his characteristic style, in which he highlighted his drawings with broad color patches. The artist explained this independent juxtaposition of structure and color with the mechanism of sight, according to which the eye takes up color more immediately and more intensely, as a structure. Watercolors were for him the most important means of expression in this, in order to reproduce a fleeting moment immediately and genuinely. For the World’s Fair in Paris in 1937, the monumental mural "La Fée Electricité" was produced, which can be seen now in the Musée National d`Art de Moderne in Paris. He spent the following years in Perpignan, and beginning in 1952 he lived in Forcalquier. In his later paintings, Raoul Dufy worked above all in peinture tonale, in which each picture is dominated by one basic color. On March 23, 1953, Raoul Dufy died in Forcalquier.
Raoul Dufy left a considerable oeuvre which besides paintings includes numerous ceramics, tapestries, patterns and illustrations as well as stage designs.

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