RAOUL DUFY (1877-1953)
RAOUL DUFY (1877-1953)
RAOUL DUFY (1877-1953)
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RAOUL DUFY (1877-1953)

Bouquet de fleurs dans un vase

RAOUL DUFY (1877-1953)
Bouquet de fleurs dans un vase
signed 'Raoul Dufy' (lower right)
oil on canvas
55 x 46.4 cm (21 3⁄5 x 18 1⁄4 in.)
Painted in 1907
Private collection, Paris (by 1970)
Private collection, Switzerland (by 1995)
Private collection, Canada; sale, Sotheby's London, 6 February 2013, Lot 386
Private collection, acquired at the above sale.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
M. Laffaille, Raoul Dufy, Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Geneva, 1972, vol. I, no. 208, p. 179 (illustrated)
Bièvres, Moulin de Vauboyen, Raoul Dufy, huiles, aquarelles, dessins, tapisseries porcelaines, November 1968 - January 1969
Bordeaux, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Raoul Dufy, May - September 1970, no. 23

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Lot Essay

Dating from 1907, Bouquet de fleurs dans un vase embodies many of the elements Dufy had been employing since the end of 1905, whilst working alongside Albert Marquet and Henri Matisse as a member of the Fauve movement in Normandy and Paris. Dufy’s Fauve period is widely considered the most formative and critical of his career, marking a new milestone of innovation in his practice, the artist exhibiting for the first time at the Salon d’Automne in 1906. They year 1907 saw a refinement of Dufy's work - he was by this stage paying more attention to composition, whilst his colours remained powerfully expressive and strong. The forms become flattened, and there is less desire by the artist to depict space - as is visible in the current picture, where the background has been flattened in deference to an emphasis on colour and a geometrical construction.

"(the) rapid maturing of Dufy's Fauve style is evident, from the beginning of 1907, by a desire for refinement and simplification, both in his composition and in his transposition of visible appearances...The palette, too, becomes internalized, finding new resonances: a harmony of colour, limited to blues and yellows, sometimes meeting in a sea-green..., is warmed by a yellow or a red...This simplification and lack of ornamentation allow Dufy to give his composition the greatest possible intensity. This desire to stress linear rhythm in the construction of his composition is seen in the works painted in 1907" (D. Perez-Tibi, Dufy, London, 1989, pp.31-32).

An important theme in traditional Western art history, the time-honoured still life genre evokes by its very nature a sense of beautiful transience, harking back to the 17th Century Dutch painters’ concept of the vanitas. A number of the Impressionists harnessed the theme of flowers with vigour, frequently in still life format as with Henri Fantin-Latour or within the thriving garden as with Claude Monet in Giverny, reflecting the changes of season and light. The irrepressible sensuality evoked by flowers was aptly investigated too by Pierre-Auguste Renoir who had a distinctive flair for exploring luxuriant texture, often likening the petals of a rose to the cheek of a muse, with the soft delicacy of his painterly style. The still life genre took on a new significance for Dufy and his fellow modernists, such as his co-Fauves Matisse and Vlaminck, in line with their rigorous formal and colouristic pursuits, and later, Picasso and Chagall, for whom flowers were specifically interconnected with the abundance and beauty of the South of France. In Dufy’s case, colour and composition align as the central subjects of Bouquet de fleurs dans un vase; vibrant and alive in an explosion of colour, his flowers radiate myriad shapes in a rainbow-like cascade, fresh and bursting out of their tall jug against the rich, warm crimson of the background.

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