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Raoul Dufy (French, 1877-1953)


Birth Place: Le Havre (Seine-Maritime, Département de la, Haute-Normandie, France)

Raoul Dufy, born at Le Havre in Normandy in 1877, is best-known for his whimsical pallets and chic, open-air social scenes. Not only was he at the forefront of the Fauvist movement, he was also an artisan of many trades, working as a printmaker, a book illustrator, a designer of furniture as well as an urban planner.

He left school at age 14 to work for a coffee-importing company, and four years later enrolled in evening classes at Le Havre's Ecole d'Art, where he met fellow artists and lifelong friends, Raymond Lecourt and Othon Friesz. He went back to school in Paris after serving one year in the military and concentrated on refining his drawing skills. During his studies, he became heavily influenced by Impressionist painters Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.

Dufy exhibited his work for the first time in 1901, then again at the Salon des Independants in 1903 and 1905, where he was exposed to Henri Matisse's Luxe, Calme et Volupte, a work that inspired him to become a follower of the Fauvist movement. Over the decade that followed, Dufy was introduced to the work of Paul Cezanne, which led him to adopt a more subtle technique, and also flirted with the geometric techniques of cubism, which he finally developed into his own technique known as stenographic.

He maintained his cheerful color palettes and spent the rest of his successful career depicting events of his era most relatable for the upper crest of society, including yacht parties, musical soirees and illustrious panoramas of the French Riviera.

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