Raoul Dufy

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Raoul Dufy was a renowned and notable French painter and designer, who is remembered for his dazzlingly bright paintings that depicted extravagance and the guiltless pursuit of pleasure.

Raoul Dufy was born on June 3, 1877, in Le Havre. Raoul came from a large family, he had eight siblings, and due to a shortage of money, Dufy left the school at the young age of 14, and started working for a coffee importing company.

After working there for four years, he began attending evening classes at Le Havre’s École des Beaux-Art, where he met Raymond Lecourt and Othon Friesz, with whom he was to form a lifelong friendship. In 1900, he decided to move to Paris, where he started taking classes at the École des Beaux-Arts.

Raoul adopted the impressionist style with a dedicated passion, and his art began to feature bold and sharp strokes of bright colors marked with broad brushstrokes that associated his style with that of the Fauve artists. He collaborated with Georges Braque and Emile Othon Friesz who worked in the Cubist style, however, Raoul returned to his own unique and uninhibited Fauvist style.

In 1911, Raoul was commissioned to illustrate Guillaume Apollinaire’s ‘Bestiaire ou cortege d’Orphee’, in which he incorporated the use of woodcuts. Raoul’s interests were piqued by the decorative art, and in 1912, he began developing designs for a textile company.

During the 1920s, Raoul became increasingly involved in designing ceramics and tapestries, and to give full reign to his experimentation and creativity, he set up his own cloth printing studio. He began conducting extensive travels within France, and abroad and during his journeys, he would make any scene that would strike his interests the subject of his canvas, and such subjects include any recreational scene such as concerts, parades, and horse races.

Raoul enjoyed spending his time in the French Riviera which has formed the subject of many of his iconic works. In 1927, he produced the series of ‘Paintings of Nice’, and in 1929, he produced his remarkable, ‘Bois de Boulogne’.

Raoul was captivated with the idea of developing compositions that could reflect light through the colour, and in the pursuit of this endeavor, he began experimenting with a wide and rich variety of materials such as cloth, ceramics and huge architectural decorations.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Raoul was a regular contributor at the Annual Salon de Tuileries, in Paris. In 1950, tragedy struck when Raoul was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which stole his ability to create magic on the canvas with his hands and decisive strokes of the brush.

In 1952, he was awarded the grand prize at the 26th Venice Biennale. Raoul Dufy died at Forcalquier, France, on March 23, 1953.

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