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Art / Fine / Applied > Modern Art 1870-1970

Raoul Dufy

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Raoul Dufy


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"Life hasn't always smiled on me. But I have always smiled on life." - Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy is perhaps best known for his colourful and joyous Fauvistic paintings, but he also produced a dazzling array of ceramics, wall-hangings, dress fabrics and furniture designs. In addition Dufy produced elaborate decorative schemes for public buildings and was influential as a planner of public spaces.

Having studied drawing in Paris in the early 1900s, Dufy become influenced by impressionist landscape painters such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissaro and held his first exhibition at the Exhibition of French Artists in 1901. He later grew interested in Fauvism, which is the style of les Fauves (French for "the wild beasts"), a loose group of early Modern artists whose works emphasised bright colours and bold contours in their work. Dufy moved away from this aesthetic in 1909 when he came into contact with the work of Paul Cezanne and adopted a somewhat subtler technique. However, it was not until 1920 that he finally developed his own highly distinctive approach.

This film, through interviews with patrons, dealers and models who knew Dufy, puts the case that he was one of the finest draftsman of the twentieth century; a designer of works whose influence is still much in evidence and who was a indeed painter of genius to rank alongside Matisse and Leger.

Sarah Wilson is an art historian, curator and writer. Her global art interests are informed by specialism in postwar and Cold War Europe and the USSR. In 2015, she was co-curator and curator for the academic forum of the 1st Asian Biennale / 5th Guangzhou Triennale, Guanzhou, China.

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