Raoul Dufy (1877 – 1953)

Raoul Dufy was a French Fauvist painter and draftsman, brother of Jean Dufy. In 1900 Dufy went to Paris to attend the École des Beaux-Arts. His early work was of an Impressionist style but by 1905 his style changed, using broad brushstrokes and brighter colours. This is typical of Fauve artists.

His playful prints portrayed leisure pursuits of the upper classes through colourful book illustrations, ceramics and fabrics. Dufy’s inspiration comes from Impressionists including Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro. He also studied the works of Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse.

A 1907 exhibition of Paul Cézanne’s work convinced Dufy to adopt temporarily more subdued colours and structured compositions. He worked in a Cubist-influenced style similar to that of the painters Georges Braque and Émile-Othon Friesz, during 1908 and 1909, later returning to his more carefree flowing approach. Dufy also had success with other media. In 1910 he produced a series of woodcuts. In the 1920s he designed ceramics and tapestries.

In the early 1920s, Dufy rededicated himself to painting and began to produce his best-known works. His distinctive style is characterised by bright washes of colours thinly drawn over a white ground, with objects sketchily drawn. Dufy’s subjects included horse races, regattas, parades, and concerts. He spent much of his time on the French Riviera and produced series of paintings of Nice (1927), the Bois de Boulogne (1929), and Deauville (1930). In late 1940s and early 1950s, Dufy exhibited at the annual Salon des Tuileries in Paris. By 1950, his hands were struck with rheumatoid arthritis and his ability to paint diminished. He underwent experimental treatment in Boston which proved successful. As a result he dedicated some of his next works to the doctors and researchers.

Dufy died at Forcalquier, France, on 23 March 1953.