Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Raoul Dufy's Insatiable Appetites
The man loved the coast, the water, and watching sail boats come in and go out of the harbor. It speaks to a life of luxury and freedom, wealth, but moreso the work speaks of a person enjoying life. What could be more French? Matisse, one of Dufy’s heroes, often said his work was meant to reflect a Frenchman’s life; enjoying one’s insatiable appetites, pleasures and desires. Dufy takes that mantra to heart and shows us a life of leisure, enjoyment and happiness.
His marks are playful, even childlike, but they are accurate and give us a sense of distance, place and dream vs. reality. I enjoy his delicately drawn etchings and the sensuousness he lovingly gives his muses. The relief prints are more brutish, but have a curvilinear line that does not take in the seriousness of the German Expressionist prints he admired. His work retains its joy no matter which media he explored. I am glad to have found these prints, and hope you enjoy them as well.
After seeing the work of Matisse in 1905, Dufy painted as a Fauve until 1909, when he saw the work of Paul Cezanne and adapted a more subtle palette. Dufy developed his own style around 1920 which was called ‘stenographic’.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s Dufy exhibited at the annual Salon des Tuileries. By 1950, he struggled with rheumatoid arthritis and took experimental treatments to regain the use of his hands. In 1952 he received the grand prize for painting in the 26th Venice Biennale, and died the next year in Forcalquier, at the age of 76. He was buried in the Cimiez Monastery Cemetery, near Matisse, in a suburb of Nice.
‘My eyes were made to erase all that is ugly’ – Raoul Dufy