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Raoul Dufy: line, color, light and charm

By Stephen Eaker

The works of early 20th century French artist Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) project a cheerful, witty, dreamlike world punctuated with poetical color and a lyrical line. Without fully encapsulating its subject matter, Dufy’s line suggests the motif with minimum detail, yet still captures the fullness, excitement and vitality of the object portrayed. Raoul Dufy’s personalized shorthand renders the beauties of the world and expresses the joyful feelings of the artist.

“Raoul Dufy: line, color, light and charm”
Wed, Dec 11, 4:30 & 6:30pm
La Ostra Roja
A Casa Verde Annex
San Jorge 45
Colonia San Antonio
(Off Refugio)
120 pesos
Reservations: 121-1026 or

Dufy’s palette is light and airy. A freshness emanates from his thinned pigments He caresses the canvas like a playful, tip-toeing dancer. Like the Fauves, Dufy’s colors are not realistically descriptive. The direct imitation of nature and its coloring did not interest him at all. He preferred to recreate the feelings nature awakened in him, feelings of joy and simple sensuous wonder. Exact rendition, exact detailing was not his quest. Moreover, Dufy believed that color was nothing by itself and only significant with light, which explains the constant freshness and wonderful illumination that pervades all of his work. This is his theory of couleur-lumière: “Light is the soul of color, without light, color is lifeless.”

Dufy did not limit himself to just painting with watercolors and oils. His highly decorative style of richly nuanced colors and simplified designs carried him into the fields of etchings, aquatints, woodcuts, ceramics, wallpaper, fabric and theatrical designs. Despite his incredible attention to technique and his whimsical contributions to the arts, Dufy was criticized as a decorative society painter, considered a realist within an art world that was radically changing. Nonetheless, his delicate and charming world enthralled collectors who appreciated simple beauty, without the aggressive edge of pioneering, progressive art engagé.

Dufy was a well-balanced, intelligent and sincere man whose immense love of life suffuses all of his boundless creative energy. Like Matisse, Dufy’s turmoil or personal difficulties do not find their way into his work. He did not paint macabre or distressing subject matters. Despite his pains or disappointments, his work remained fresh, alive, optimistic, flowing within a smiling brightness kept intact in his pictures. He recreated the world as he felt it, transposing into bright, beautiful simple imagined compositions a reality that enchanted him and the viewer alike. I invite you to discover and share the magical work of Raoul Dufy, an almost childish realm of fantasy and truth, where dreams are remembered and kept forever.


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