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  • Raoul Dufy
    Jun 3, 1877 - Mar 23, 1953
  • The Carriage (L'Attelage) - Raoul Dufy was a French artist and designer whose paintings and prints portrayed leisure activities and urban landscapes. His distinctive style is characterized by bright colours thinly spread over a white ground, with objects sketchily delineated by sensuously undulating lines. Dufy took as his subjects scenes of recreation and spectacle, including horse races, regattas, parades, and concerts.
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The Carriage (L'Attelage)
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  • The Carriage (L'Attelage)

  • Raoul Dufy
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  • 1905-1906
    Oil on canvas
    Private collection.

    In March of 1905, Raoul Dufy sent eight paintings to the twenty-first Salon des Indepéndants at the Grand Palais. The exhibition also included a retrospective of forty-eight Georges Seurat paintings, but it was Henri Matisse's Luxe, calme, et volupté that made the greatest impression on Dufy. Twenty years later, he recalled that it was in front of this painting that he understood "all the new reasons for painting. I understood instantly the new pictorial mechanics" (quoted in D. Perez-Tibi, Dufy, Paris, 1989, p. 19).

    In the six months that followed the close of the exhibition, Matisse sought out environs which suited his interest in working with vivid, saturated color. He was drawn to the Midi region with its brilliant light and lush topography, and was soon followed by Charles Camoin, Henri Manguin, Albert Marquet and André Derain. Dufy, too, ventured south from Paris, visiting Marseilles and Martigues in the summer and autumn of that year.

    The third Salon d'Automne opened in October 1905. The paintings that were hung together in Salle 7, with their emphasis on expressive color over descriptive function, caused a sensation when seen grouped in one small room. In his review of the exhibition for Gil Bas, published on 17 October 1905, by Louis Vauxcelles coined the appellation "Les Fauves," or "the wild beasts."

    Dufy did not submit paintings to the Salon d'Automne that year, but he had already been experimenting with a "pre-Fauve" palette as early as 1902 with Jeune femme au canapé rose (Laffaille, no. 45; Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena). Inspired by what he had seen at the exhibition, Dufy returned to Normandy in search of suitable vistas in which to experiment with color. Working alternatively with Georges Braque, Emile-Othon Friesz and Albert Marquet in Normandy during 1905-1906, he came to be referred to as one of the "Norman Fauves." In the winter of 1905 he returned to the town of Falaise where he had painted previously during 1901-1902 (see Laffaille, nos. 24-28 and 34-36). Situated eighty miles from his childhood home of Le Havre, Falaise was a small medieval town, notable for its castle set atop a massive rocky cliff and famous as being the birthplace of William the Conqueror. Dufy continued to paint his familiar motifs but now invigorated his treatment by juxtaposing areas of flat color, as seen in L'Attelage. He stated, "Painting means creating an image which is not the image of the appearance of things, but which has the power of their reality" (quoted in ibid., p. 22).

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Other paintings by Raoul Dufy:

Cavaliers, avenue du bois
Cavaliers, avenue du bois
Course Oxford Cambridge
Course Oxford Cambridge
The Fountain in Hyeres
The Fountain in Hyeres
The Perpignan Workshop, Place Arago
The Perpignan Workshop, Place Arago
Raoul DufyRaoul Dufy was a French artist and designer whose paintings and prints portrayed leisure activities and urban landscapes. He created airy washes of light and shade, into which he would draw bold calligraphic brushstrokes. The artist's experimental use of color was influenced both by Claude Monet and his Fauvist peer Henri Matisse. “Blue is the only color which maintains its own character in all its tones it will always stay blue,” the artist mused. “Whereas yellow is blackened in its shades, and fades away when lightened; red when darkened becomes brown, and diluted with white is no longer red, but another color—pink.” Born June 3, 1877 in Le Havre, France, he enrolled in night classes at the École des Beaux-Arts before studying under Léon Bonnat at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts on a scholarship. Dufy first encountered Fauvism at the Salon des Indépendants in 1905, after which he adapted the style to serve his own artistic purposes. During his life, the artist traveled both abroad and within France, painting views of the Mediterranean city of Nice, as well as scenes of horse races and regattas. Throughout the 1920s, Dufy worked in a variety of materials, producing ceramics, tapestry hangings, and large-scale architectural decorations. His commission for the 26th Venice Biennale won him the International Grand Prix for painting in 1952, a year before his death on March 23, 1953 in Forcalquier, France. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago.