"La Cite, Vue de l'Hotel de Ville," ("Le Marche Aux Pommes")
oil on canvas, signed "R. Dufy" lower right.
18 x 21 3/4 inches
Raoul Dufy was born in Le Havre, Normandy where he first attended art school. There he became friends with painter, Emile Othon Friesz and the two studied the works of Eugene Boudin in the museum of La Havre. In 1900 Dufy received a grant to study at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
In Paris, he studied at the studio of Leon Bonnat. He became familiar with the works of the Impressionists, but was particularly attracted to Henri Matisse and Fauvism. He saw Matisse’s Luxe, Calme et Volupte at the Salon des Independants in 1905 and was deeply impressed. Initially, Dufy’s work emulated the Fauvist style. After the war, he developed his own unique style with pure color, free flowing lines and varying perspectives.
Dufy’s masterful use of line and color are evident in Le Marché aux pommes, a delightful record of early twentieth-century life in France. While still Impressionist in style, the painting hints toward the distinctive Fauvist style the artist would soon adopt. Bryan Robertson notes: “Dufy’s characteristic use of a compact, tersely eloquent calligraphy and pure, clean, unfussed, fast-flowing line is perhaps the most radical extension in the first half of the twentieth century of Van Gogh’s passionately forceful and explosive handling of line and color in his own later paintings, and particularly in the drawings made with a reed pen” (quoted in Raoul Dufy (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London, 1983, p. 18).
Dufy was highly prolific and became best known for his scenes of Mediterranean landscapes, sea goddesses, Italian ruins and lighthearted views of leisure and spectacle. His paintings captured 20th French living and appealed to both European and American collectors. Time Magazine called Dufy “the granddaddy of modern chic” after his visit to America in 1950-1951.