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Dufy, Raoul [French, 1877-1953] 

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Dufy, Raoul [French, 1877-1953]


[ 20th Century Artists | Fauvist Artists ]
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Raoul Dufy was known for his brightly colored and highly decorative scenes of luxury and pleasure. Critics argue that his paintings lack substance, while others say that they simply express a delight in life.

Raoul Dufy was born in 1877 in Le Havre, Normandy, already one of the most lively centres of contemporary painting. His training was initially strictly academic, first at the Ecole Municipale des Beaux-Arts du Havre (where he met Othon Friesz and Georges Braque) and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

In 1901 he first exhibited his work at the Salon des Artistes Français. The following year he graduated to the Salon des Indépendants. With paintings such as ‘The Courtyard of the Louvre’ (1902), Dufy had shed all traces of Impressionism and Symbolism and had found his own voice. In 1905 to 1906 Dufy worked in the Fauvist movement, in which color was one of the most important factors to many though design was the primary concern for Dufy. He was intent on depicting the ‘unseen.’ He also encountered other challenging movements and centers such as Cézanne's Provence and Expressionist Germany, but being sure of his direction was never seduced by them, although he was certainly open to experimentation.

Dufy invented rather than represented nature. He was extraordinarily optimistic and this is evident in his airy paintings. He understood the world in terms of decorative art and indeed turned his attention to textile design for a while, which like his paintings were a tapestry of clear colors. The figures in his paintings are often like characters in a play, for example ‘Harlequin in the Venetian Manner’ (1939) in which a particular figure takes centre stage and directs the emotions of the audience. In this way he found great joy in depicting public events with their pomp and ceremony, such as ‘The Coronation of King George VI’ (1937). Dufy died near Forcalquier, France, on March 23, 1953, and was buried not far from Matisse in the Cimiez Monastery Cemetery in Cimiez, a suburb of the city of Nice, France.


  Dufy, Raoul [French, 1877-1953]

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