In 1910 Raoul Dufy returned to Sainte-Adresse, the town on the Normandy coast whose buildings, cliffs and water had inspired his major transition in 1905-1906 from Impressionism to the bright colours and bold outlines of his Fauve manner. Now, Dufy turned anew to the familiar sights of this seaside hamlet to work through another stylistic turning point in his career: his embrace of a cubist-inspired organisation of space and volume. Like many of his colleagues, the painter had found inspiration for this new direction at the Cézanne retrospective at the 1907 Salon d'Automne. The following year, he joined Braque at L'Estaque, and the two painters rendered the local trees and hillsides in rigorously juxtaposed, simplified planes. Commenting on Dufy's selective adoption of cubist methods, Dora Perez-Tibi stated: 'While Braque, like Picasso, was to take his experiments further, towards an almost hermetic analysis of forms - conveying their internal structures in an explosion of facets on the surface of the canvas, the source of the cubist aesthetic - Dufy would go on to rediscover the spirit of the older painter's method, and intensify his experiments with the expressive possibilities of space that Cézanne's aesthetic offered to him' (in Raoul Dufy, London, 1989, p. 37).
Le Casino de Sainte-Adresse au pêcheur spotlights Dufy's incorporation of cubist techniques into a distinctly personal style. In this work, a concentrated arrangement of houses and towers rises steeply from the bright blue ocean, above a foreground scene depicting a lone fisherman and a row of upturned boats in the lower right corner. Though the dense composition is largely free of perspective and relies on an architectonic structuring of space in superimposed planes, what distinguishes Dufy's work from that of Braque and Picasso is that he preserves the recognisable character of his forms. Here, Dufy also eschews the restricted palette of greens and ochres that he briefly adopted in 1908, applying instead intense Fauve colours to a system of staggered planes. His short, parallel brushstrokes lend a dynamic quality to the flat construction of geometrical forms, revealing his investigation of form and space in a brightly saturated, Cézanne-inspired variation of the cubist style that was closely related to, yet always distinct from mainstream Cubism.