Raoul Dufy, born under the names of Raoul Ernest Joseph on June 3, 1877 in Le Havre and died on March 23, 1953 in Forcalquier son of Léon Auguste Dufy and Marie Eugénie Lemonnier, is a painter, draftsman, engraver, book illustrator, ceramist, creator Fabrics, tapestries and furniture, interior decorator, public spaces and French theater.
From 1893, Raoul Dufy attended Charles Lhuillier’s evening classes at the École Municipale des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. He met Raimond Lecourt, René de Saint-Delis and Othon Friesz, with whom he later shared a studio in Montmartre and remained one of his most loyal friends. He painted Norman landscapes in watercolor.
In 1900, he joined the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he found Othon Friesz. He draws a lot. His first exhibition (at the Salon des artistes français) took place in 190 and he exhibited in 1903 at the Salon des Independants. The painter Maurice Denis buys him a canvas. He painted much in the neighborhood of Le Havre, and especially on the beach of Sainte-Adresse made famous by Eugène Boudin and Claude Monet. In 1904, with his friend Albert Marquet, he worked, always on the motif, in Fécamp.
In 1903-1904 and 1906-1907, Dufy stayed in Martigues in Provence. He painted a series of landscapes representing the city and its canals.
Influenced by Fauvism and in particular by Matisse’s work, he worked with Friesz, Lecourt and Marquet on paintings of streets flaunted with flags, village festivals and beaches.
In 1908, realizing the importance of Cézanne during the great retrospective of 1907, he abandoned Fauvism. He carries out studies of trees, horses, models in the workshop, still lifes. That same year, he went to L’Estaque1, near Marseille with Georges Braque. They painted, often side by side, the same motifs as Cezanne.
He stays in the “Villa Médicis libre” (which welcomes young painters lacking resources) in Orgeville with André Lhote and Jean Marchand. In their company, it is oriented towards constructions influenced by the beginnings of the cubism of Braque and Picasso.
He realized in 1910 the wood engraved for the Bestiary of Apollinaire. (He will make others for the legendary Poems of France and Brabant of Emile Verhaeren).
In 1911, he married a Niçoise, Eugénie-Émilienne Brisson (1880-1962). Called by the great couturier Paul Poiret who was impressed by the engravings of the Bestiaire of Guillaume Apollinaire, he embarked on the creation of motifs for fashion and decoration fabrics. Indeed, the printing of the fabrics is then carried out using engraved wood. Together with Paul Poiret, he set up a small textile printing and decoration company, “La Petite Usine”. He prints there his first tapestries and stuffs that will make the celebrity of Paul Poiret. A year later he was hired by the Bianchini-Ferrier silk factory in Lyon, where he created innumerable motifs according to his favorite themes (naiads, animals, birds, flowers, butterflies …) In card “for the weaving on the Jacquard looms. This collaboration will last until 193
Still influenced by Cézanne, his drawing became more flexible during his stay in 1913 in Hyères.
In 1915, he enlisted in the military service of the army.
During his first stay in Vence in 1919, the colors of his paintings became more vivid and his drawing more baroque.
He embarked on lithography with the Madrigals of Mallarmé in 192 (Subsequently, he realized it for Guillaume Apollinaire’s The Poet Assassinated). That same year the Beef on the Roof of Jean Cocteau is represented with sets and costumes of Dufy.
Under the impetus of Paul Poiret and wishing to realize the effect of his tissues on women, he began to frequent the racecourses in 1922; He aesthetically takes a taste for the spectacle of crowds, horses, and movements. He made more and more watercolors, and worked the ceramics from 1923 with the Catalan ceramist Artigas. Right from the start, the two men understand each other and the ceramist appreciates the decorative fantasy and talent of the painter. Of Dufy’s two hundred pieces, most are the fruit of the collaboration between the two artists. The Vase with Bathers and Swans is visible at MuMa – Museum of Modern Art André Malraux in Le Havre.
Dufy travels a lot. He discovers Italy (Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Sicily) then Morocco and Spain. He admired Titian’s paintings at the Prado Museum. He also travels to Belgium and England. He stays in Nice from 1925 to 1929 with his wife of Nice.
He executed cartoons for upholstery fabrics made in tapestry by the Manufacture of Beauvais on the theme of Paris. His painting The Paddock enters the Luxembourg Museum in 1936
In 1936-1937, helped by his brother Jean Dufy, he realized for the Pavillon de l’Électricité at the 1937 Exposition Universelle, the largest painting in existence in the world: La Fée Électricité (624 m2), now visible in Museum of modern art of the city of Paris.
Raoul Dufy began to feel in 1937 the first attacks of a painful and disabling disease: rheumatoid arthritis. He was named a member of the Carnegie Prize jury in Pittsburgh.
The watercolors of the castles of the Loire and Venice (many views of the city and the lagoon) were born in 193. He also worked on very large panels for the palace of Chaillot: the Seine from Paris to the Sea. Othon Friesz Realizes those of La Seine de la source in Paris.
Refugeed in the South of France in the early 1940s, he painted cartoons for the great Collioure and Le Bel Été tapestries. Dufy also excels in the composition of sets and theatrical costumes for the Comédie-Française. In his paintings, he gradually abandoned the wide strips of colors for a dominant overall color.
Jean Cocteau published in 1948 a book on Raoul Dufy in the collection “Masters of Drawing” (Editions Flammarion).
Dufy illustrates the terrestrial foods of André Gide in 1949, then L’Herbier de Colette (1950). He was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honor.
At the Museum of Art and History of Geneva, 261 works, as well as ceramics, tapestries, books are gathered in 195. In addition, 41 works are sent by France to the Venice Biennale. He won the painting prize and offered the amount to an Italian painter and Charles Lapicque so that they could stay one in France and the other in Venice. The painter Alfred Manessier will be the last Frenchman to obtain this prize. Dufy moved to Forcalquier in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
There he died on 23 March 1953 of a heart attack. His last words were to ask his secretary to open the shutters of his room to see the mountain. After a temporary burial, the city of Nice offers a site in the cemetery of Cimiez in 195
Raoul Dufy first underwent the influence of Eugène Boudin and Impressionism, but he did not retain the touch in a comma: his own, on the other hand, became increasingly broad and vigorous, as can be seen in The Beach of Sainte-Adresse (1904) and After the lunch (1905-1906). We must emphasize an early mastery of watercolor, and already indications of his own future style in a work such as July 14, 1898 in Le Havre where the colors are completed in Indian ink.
Raoul Dufy discovers Matisse and Signac. In La Place du village (1906), roses and greens are caught in rather thick lines highlighting the architectures. The shadows are frank. A small French flag in a still impressionist sky announces the bright colors of the streets of Le Havre, which he painted in the company of Marquet.
In the Port of Le Havre (1906), the smoke of the boats is traversed by shudders and undulations which will subsequently accentuate in Dufy’s own style. The white spots of the sheds and ships come with a few French flags to illuminate a whole, a little too dull to be truly fawn-colored.
On the other hand, the pink Nude with the green armchair (Claudine de dos) (1906) is of very clearly fauvistic bill. The palette is close to that of the Matisse of the Interiors of Collioure or La Raie verte (Portrait of Madame Matisse) of 190. We must note the secondary planes treated by large and parallel keys, which remind one of Cézanne, although Dufy did not Not yet a good knowledge of the work of this painter.
In 1907, Dufy can admire the paintings of Cézanne during the retrospective at the Salon d’Automne. In order to understand Cézanne on the very grounds he painted, he left for L’Estaque with Georges Braque, another Havrais by adoption, who attended the same municipal school of Fine Arts as Friesz and Dufy.
In L’Estaque (1908), the forms, just suggested by blue lines in the distance, recall the Montagne Sainte-Victoire of the Cézanne of maturity. The houses of the Village by the sea (1908) are reduced to a simple geometry.
The keys are “Cezannian” (oblique and set with the flat brush), the tones are little contrasts. L’Arbre à l’Estaque (1908) by Dufy could have been signed by Georges Braque of Les Maisons at l’Estaque (1908). Equalized like pieces of rock, the houses of Braque and Dufy, are hardly more mineral than the sky, the sea, or the trees. As for Cézanne, the real subject of their paintings is volume and depth. However, Dufy soon escaped to further research, whereas Braque sought to develop and exhaust the resources of the geometrization of motifs.
Raoul Dufy will not even touch the almost abstraction of synthetic cubism. He remains attached to the legibility of his paintings. Its colors gain in brilliance and diversity. It is possible that Dufy influenced Picasso, who often took up the ideas of other painters. The Cage d’oiseaux (1923) of the Spanish painter has many relatives with La cage d’oiseau (1913-14), until the title of the work which differs only in a plural. But whereas in Picasso color is in solidarity with the feature, Dufy’s aplats impose themselves without any necessary relationship with an allusive, rudimentary design of “simple graphic abbreviations,” writes Pierre Cabanne
Approximately 3,000 paintings, 6,000 large watercolors, 6,000 drawings, engraved woods, lithographs, tapestries, fabrics … Dufy did not tend to retain everything like Picasso.
1913 is the pivotal year and the great bather with massive forms is a farewell to Cubism. In the background of its massive body, treated like a joint of cylindrical parts, a landscape is reduced to volumes but whose numerous houses constitute a prefiguration of the views of Vence.
In the abandoned Garden (1913), Raoul Dufy’s own style is almost in place: bright colors determining relatively arbitrary areas to which the drawings of the various elements are added.
Dufy realizes that, for the eye, colors do not belong indefectibly to a thing: they are not qualities that would not exist outside a substance. They have their own life, overflow objects, especially in the experience of the perception of movement. Hence the use of what Pierre Cabanne calls “puddles of colors juxtaposed”. The dissociation between color and drawing is sometimes very intense, and Dufy often installs objects reduced to an outline on three or four wide colorful beaches.
Watercolor, gouache, which became more and more important after 1930, offered him more possibilities to continue this experiment. The “puddles” of the bottom are spread on a paper previously wet and stretched on a drawing board. When they are dry, he draws the various objects of the pattern with a fine brush. Le Bel Été (1940) is a remarkable example of this. This technique requires a very great assurance, acquired by the incessant practice of drawing.
His drawings testify more than skill. And even if, as Fanny Guillon-Laffaille reports, “he sometimes drew with both hands at the same time,” 4 Dufy’s art does not stand in a mere virtuosity, which alone contains his own interest. It is the result of an incessant work crowned by genius that never explains the facility. The hand obeys a scrutinizing and rapid glance. At first glance, his drawings seem to be excavated, even overloaded, but a little attention reveals that Dufy went straight to the point. At first we think we are dealing with a baroque work, and we soon see that the greatest simplicity, the economy of means can give the feeling of wealth and almost exhaustiveness. Fields of corn, portraits, grids of parks, nudes, bouquets of anemones, foliage: some features make the soul of things present.
In The Great Orchestra (1936 Chinese ink), double bass and cello, bass drum and drums are precisely drawn. Is it a coincidence? Dufy comes from a family where music was very important. Now these grave sounds, these “paternal voices” support the force and depth of the chords emanating from the other instruments. These are suggested, stylized by quick strokes. The successive tracings are left in place: they are not errors corrected, it is the object that surpasses its inertia and becomes a quivering existence under the hand of Dufy. The violins and the brass take advantage of the accuracy of the rendition of the double basses: Dufy realizes that in too many details, life would be suppressed. The musicians are reduced to the oval of their heads: one does not go to the concert to watch a gallery of portraits.
The joy of living and the unveiling of life supports each painting, each gouache, each drawing. Dufy takes a look of wonder at the world and invites us to a party that is not superficial and worldly. “If I could express all the joy that is in me! ” he said. He has largely succeeded, and few works are such an invitation to journey towards a horizon of happiness.
It has two addresses in Montmartre: no 12 rue Cortot in 1901 and the second one from 1911 to 1950, in no. 5 impasse de Guelma, near Place Pigalle. In this last workshop he succeeded Severini, then came Braque, Valadon, André Utter, Utrillo. The dictionary of painters in Montmartre also gives him another address: No. 17 rue Gabrielle.