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Leaving a considerable legacy that included thousands of oil paintings, watercolours as well as drawings, engravings, ceramics and printed fabric models, French Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy was considered to be one of the world's greatest and most prolific colourists.
Born on 3 June 1877 into a big family in Le Havre, Normandy, Dufy first took evening drawing classes at the Le Havre École d'Art. During this time, he painted mostly Norman landscapes in watercolours. After an arduous time in the military service, Dufy was awarded a scholarship to study at the prestigious École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Dufy's initial canvases were very much influenced by Impressionist landscape painters such as Camille Pissaro and Claude Monet, but after setting eyes on Matisse's “Luxe, Calme et Volupté”, the painter experienced a profound revelation to the young artist. After utilising bold colours and contours for a couple of years, Dufy decided to take a more subtle approach to subject matter in his work – resulting in works such as “Barques à Martigues” that channelled cubist influences.
A recurring theme in Dufy's paintings include scenes of countryside, the coast, mythology and music. The painting “Le Jardin abandonné” of 1913 started an era for Dufy that would define his career. The dissociation between the colours and the line provides a structure to his paintings, making them original and instantly recognizable. His floral landscapes also share similarities with the landscapes of Klimt if you compare the two artists closely.
In his later years, Dufy carried on working despite being terminally ill. In 1952, he was awarded the Grand Prix at the Venice Biennial and died a year later in Forcalquier on 23 March 1953.