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Raoul Dufy is a well-known French painter, illustrator and designer. He is famous for his brightly colored decorative scenes of pleasure and luxury.

Raoul-Ernest-Joseph Dufy was born on 3rd June 1877 at La Havre, France. He belonged to a family with deep interests in music and arts. His father was a lead in the musical choir of the Church and his younger brothers took up a career either in painting or in music.

Being the eldest child of a big family, Dufy became independent at a tender age of 14. He left his studies and worked in a Brazilian coffee importing company for 5 years. While working at the port, he decided to take up painting as a career. So he joined evening classes at the municipal school of fine arts. He met Othon Friesz in this school and they together opened a small studio to pursue their interests in ‘genre painting’. They painted landscapes of their home town and Havre port.

In 1900, he received a scholarship from the Havre municipal school - 600 francs per year to study arts in Paris. He was very much influenced by the paintings of Monet, Pissarro and Degas. However, his works were not appreciated by the tutors of the municipal school of fine arts. But that did not stop him from pursuing his interests. In 1903, Dufy exhibited his works for the first time at Salon des Independents and was able to sell his first painting.

Dufy’s initial paintings reflected Impressionist style but from 1905 onwards, he began to apply the Fauve style in his paintings which included the use of bright colors and broad brushstrokes. An exhibition of Paul Cézanne’s work in 1907 encouraged him to work with more structured compositions and subdued colors. In 1908 and 1909, Dufy’s paintings reflected Cubist style and he worked with artists like Émile-Othon Friesz and Georges Braque during this time. However, he soon came back to his former Fauvist approach.
Dufy was not only a painter but was an artist in other forms of media. In the year 1910, he had produced several series of woodcuts as an illustration of the famous poet Guillaume Apollinaire’s Bestiary. Later in 1912 he started working with a textile company where he used to create different textile designs. Around 1920s, Dufy started with designing of tapestries and ceramics. But soon, he made a comeback to his first love of painting and started creating canvasses which are considered as his best-known works.
Dufy had a distinctive style of painting which was mainly characterized by brighter colors being spread thinly on a white ground and the objects being delineated sketchily using appealing undulating lines. His subjects of painting mainly reflected splendor and he was fond of depicting scenes of spectacle and recreation such as parades, concerts, regattas and horse races.

Dufy had spent most of the time on the French Riviera producing a series of sketches including “Nice” (in 1927), “Bois de Boulogne” (in 1929) and “Deauville” (in 1930). During this time he also continued his work as a printmaker and as an illustrator creating abruptly drawn lithographs and etchings. His paintings were no doubt very popular because of their carefree, lively and elegant style; however critics had often referred them as “bordering on the superficial.”
From late 1930s, Dufy’s movements got severely restricted as he was suffering from polyarthritis and his genre of work got confined to graphics and easel paintings only. He died on 23rd March 1953 in Provence in France.

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