Le Havre 1877 - Forcalquier 1953
While working as an apprentice in a coffee import house, Raoul Dufy followed the evening classes of the painter Charles Lhuillier at the Municipal School of Fine Arts in Le Havre. He met there Emile Othon Friesz with who he would later share a studio in Montmartre and who would stay one of his best friends.
In 1900, Dufy started his studies at the School of Fine Arts in Paris where he met again Othon Friesz. He exhibited at the Salon des Artistes français and in 1903 at the Salon des Indépendants where he discovered Matisse's painting Luxe, calme et volupté which was for him revelation.
Marked by Fauvism, Raoul Dufy opened a fantastic production period. His pure and vivid colors transcribed his emotions, lightening the painting on the basis of 'light color'.
After a brief incursion toward Cezannian Cubism during stays in Provence with Braque, Dufy reached his height by creating his own pictural language based on the dissociation of color and drawing.
For Dufy, colors have their own life, they surpass the object. These are the ones which structure his paintings forming more or less large areas, wide fields of vivid colors on which the painter add the drawing of various elements.
From the 1920s, he launched into an intense and multiple production : engravings and illustrations for André Gide, patterns for the fashion designer Paul Poiret, decors for Cocteau, public commissions and exhibitions around the world.
He notably made the monumental work for the Electricty pavilion of the International Exhibition of 1925 titled La Fée Electricité (visible at the City of Paris Museum of Art).
The disease (rheumatoid arthritis) won't stop him. One year before his death he was awarded the painting price of the 26th Venice Biennale which crown his entire work. Celebrated and worshipped, Raoul Dufy died on March 23rd 1953 at Forcalquier.
As a great colorist, Raoul Dufy has left a significant work : 2000 paintings, 4 000 watercolors and many draxings, engravings, illustrations, ceramics and models of printed fabrics.