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    Raoul Dufy (French, 1877-1953)
    Régates à Deauville, 1936
    Oil on canvas
    13 x 33 inches (33.0 x 83.8 cm)
    Signed lower center: Raoul Dufy

    Elie Fauré;
    Ohana Gallery, London, 1959-60;
    Modie and Carolyn Spiegel, purchased from the above, 1960;
    Edward and Audrey Spiegel;
    Estate of Audrey Spiegel.

    Ohana Gallery, London, "Exhibition of French Painters of the 19th and 20th Century," June - September 1959.

    R. Cogniat, "Dufy décorateur," in R. Moutard-Uldry, ed., Les maîtres de l'art décoratif contemporain, Geneva, 1954, no. 7;
    M. Brion, Raoul Dufy, peintures et aquarelles, Cologne, 1958, no. 59 illustrated in color;
    F. Guillon-Laffaille, Raoul Dufy, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, II, Geneva, 1973, cat. no. 891, p. 366 illustrated in black and white.

    Painter Raoul Dufy was born in Le Havre, on France's Channel coast. Throughout his long career as one of the finest and freshest colorists of his generation, he depicted scenes of boating, beach-going, and other maritime leisure activities with joyous abandon that underscored his intense affection for having grown up near the water. He even brought the sea directly into his Parisian studio in Impasse de Guelma as a mature artist by painting the walls an ocean blue, stressing, "Blue is the only color that, in all its gradations, maintains its individuality."

    For approximately a decade, beginning in the late 1920s and extending through the late 1930s, Dufy enjoyed a period of feverish activity painting long panoramic scenes of regattas on the Deauville basin, which separates the resort towns of Deauville and Trouville situated next to one another on the northern French coast. For these delightful images of sailboats in many shapes, sizes and colors, dancing on choppy waters, filling or drying their sails, the artist moved away from the squarer canvases he had used since his early days as a Fauve. Instead, his long, narrow supports enabled him to explore the endless variety of pattern and rhythm created by the sailboats strung out along the coast, with the resort architecture of Trouville on the far bank indicated sketchily in the background. In the present work, Régates à Deauville from 1936, Dufy included the Trouville Casino--a big bright block with its distinctive arched roofline--hugging the shore at the far right.

    In Régates à Deauville and its related works, Dufy jettisoned both traditional perspective and conventional paint application for expressive purposes. He remarked around the time he adopted this frieze-like approach to designing a painting, "Perspective is what is used to link all the elements in a composition.... I have noticed that greater expressive force is obtained when all the objects are placed in a plane parallel to the observer and not perpendicular, which creates a vanishing point and tends to pierce the background." In terms of brushwork, the scene is painted with Dufy's distinctive stylized notation of quick strokes: a scattering of small curved dabs for the waves, tiny blocks of color for the quayside buildings, and rough, abbreviated marks for the sailors aboard ship. The unlabored appearance of Dufy's way of working evokes an overall mood of breeziness and gaiety, which rested at the heart of his approach to art-making.

    Considered overall, Dufy's pictorial production displays an astonishing freedom. Exceptionally gifted - he was able to draw with both hands at the same time - he painted with his left (non-dominant) hand in order to channel its energy, and not become constipated by the stultifying efforts of exacting precision. He dedicated himself to developing a sprightly manner that creates a refreshing mix of refinement and naivety.

    This painting comes to auction from the Spiegel family of Chicago, whose mail-order fortune enabled them to assemble a first-rate modernist art collection. Earlier in the twentieth century, the painting belonged to the French art historian and essayist Elie Fauré.

    Works closely related to Régates à Deauville are in the collections of Evergreen House Foundation, Baltimore, Maryland; Tate Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Musée du Havre.

    Condition Report*: We would like to thank Julius Lowy Frame and Restoring Company for the following condition report: The painting is executed in oil on a medium wove canvas, which is oxidized appropriately or the age, but in stable condition. There is no evidence of prior re-touching or previous restoration to the paint layer. There appears to be a layer of environmental grime on the surface, creating a slight overall discoloration. The paint surface appears stable throughout, but there are a few noticeable areas of drying crackle and reticulation in the paint layer, primarily in the area of the red boat in the right quadrant of the painting. It appears that there has been other medium added to certain areas of the paint surface, presumably added by the artist to achieve certain colors. There are a few such areas on the surface, which exhibit this reticulation. We believe these areas to be stable, and not in danger of flaking or paint loss. The paining is in overall very good, and age appropriate condition.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2017
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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