Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy
Born June 3, 1877
Le Havre, France
Died Mar. 23, 1953 (at age 75)
Forcalquier, France
Nationality French
Education École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts
Movement Fauvism, impressionism, modernism, cubism
Field Painting, drawing, design, printmaking

In the world of landscape painting, the French artist Raoul Dufy made a name for himself by providing unique designs. His use of color and his keen sense of style created great works of art in many different modalities. From painting, designing and printmaking, Raoul’s signature style has been celebrated by artists all around the world.

Early Years

Born in 1877, Raoul Dufy spent his early years in Normandy, France. At the age of 18, Dufy began art school under the teachings of Charles Lhuiller. His success in art school afforded him the opportunity to take his talents to Paris in 1900. There he was inspired by the landscape of France and made of his early works light-hearted watercolor paintings of the outdoors.

Style and Technique

Dufy-Raoul_Regatta-At-CowesHeavily influenced by the French impressionist movement of the early 1900s, Dufy honed his craft by studying artists like Monet and Pissaro. Raoul painted vivid landscapes of France with short brush strokes and a center focus on light. He exhibited his work at shows all around France and continued to follow in the movement for a few years until other painters came into his sight. Yet, as his career began to evolve, so did his style.

After being witness to the iconic paintings of Henri Matisse in 1905, Dufy was forever changed. The impressionable artist was drawn to the bold colors and the surreal form mastered by Matisse in a painting of a beach scene. The Luxe, Calme et Volupté was an example of how he could use color to tell a story. He tailored his paintings during this time after Matisse until he was encouraged to adopt his own style. The Fauvism movement did not last for very long with Dufy, and by the year of 1910, he abandoned the technique for a simpler style that he would gradually develop into his own.

Famous Works

Dufy later developed his own signature style of using watercolors and oil paints. His paintings of yachts, water and landscapes depicted vibrant colors with thin washes of paint. This was elaborately illustrated in one of his most famous works, Regatta at Cowes, completed in 1934.

His painting shows bold blues and splashes of color that represent the flags of a crowded waterway. Dufy also became known for large scale paintings of murals, such as La Fee Electricite and drawings of seaside joy painted on the side of buildings.

Not only was he a noted painter, but his career stretched into the realm of fashion design, illustration, and ceramic design. He was commissioned by many to design stationary and textile that represented a unique blend of technique and color that commanded the attention of audiences everywhere. After his death in 1953, Dufy was buried in Nice, close to one of his inspirations, Henri Matisse.

The extremely colorful career of Raoul Dufy spans decades and has influenced the works of many aspiring artists. His works of seaside splendor and murals of French landscapes appear in many museums around the world. This has solidified Dufy as an artist with a true range of talent and innovative skill.

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