(1877 - 1953)
Raoul Dufy was born in Le Harve to a family of nine children, and demonstrated a precocious talent for drawing at an early age that set him apart from his siblings. He left school when he was fourteen years old and took on a job in commerce began in 1892 to attend evening classes at the municipal Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he met Othon Friesz. Awarded a scholarship in 1900 and Dufy left for to Paris where he studied for four years under Bonnat at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Influenced at first by the impressionists, then from 1905 by the Fauve style of Matisse, Dufy began to work in richer colours.
Dufy engaged with Fauvism after encountering Matisse’s Luxe, Calme et Volupté in the 1905 Salon des Indépendants, and subsequently the influence of Cezanne’s works was to push him into grappling with Cubism. However, Dufy later established his own style with cheerful depictions of yachting scenes and the iridescent French Riviera, hence being the darling of the decorative arts. He adroitly painted his favourite scenes- racecourses, regattas, nudes, and the beach.
Dufy’s commitment to painting endured, and between 1914-1940, he synthesized his love of music and painting by depicting a series of philharmonic and chamber orchestras. An eclectic artist, Dufy also served as an illustrator for Apollinaire, and Mallarme’s books. His popularity as an artist and printmaker today remains as unwavering as ever.
By the end of his career, he was an accomplished artist in a wide range of fields- being a draughtsman, book illustrator, and furniture designer, theatrical set designer, in addition to being a painter. Textile and ceramic designers have heavily adopted his effervescent, light and playful style, for they evoke joyous, outdoor social congregations, and thus have wide appeal.
Dufy awarded the main painting prize at the 1952 Venice Biennale. In 1953, Dufy moved to Forcalquier where he died that year. Three months since his passing, in acknowledgement and recognition of his works, the Paris Museum of Modern Art organised Dufy first great retrospective. Today the colourful works of this brilliant and critically acclaimed painter grace the walls of museums around the world.