7 February 2007
Raoul Dufy (1877-1953)
signed 'Raoul Dufy' (lower right)
oil on canvas
21 5/8 x 18 in. (55 x 45.7 cm.)
Painted in 1916
André Lefèvre, Paris.
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C. Zervos, Raoul Dufy, Paris, 1928 (illustrated pl. 20).
M. Berr de Turique, Raoul Dufy, Paris, 1930, p. 101.
M. Laffaille, Raoul Dufy, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, vol. I, Geneva, 1972, no. 389 (illustrated p. 320).
Dufy's style had undergone a radical transformation in the last years of the first decade of the twentieth century, largely in response to two main influences; Cézanne and the cubists had a spectacular effect on the structure of Dufy's paintings and his contruction of form, while the colour theories of the Fauves had a marked effect on his palette. At the same time his style was moving towards an ever personal aesthetic where form and colour combine in a systematic composition of vibrancy and fluidity. The present work is a spectacular example of this increasing freedom, in which the composition is at once balanced and explosive and in which colour plays an increasingly expressive and structural role.
The piano depicted in the present work was manufactured by Pleyel et Cie, a firm founded in 1807 by the Austrian composer Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831), who had been a pupil of Haydn. The firm was continued by Pleyel's son Camille (1788-1855), a piano virtuoso who became his father's business partner in 1815. Pleyel et Cie made pianos for, among others, Frédéric Chopin and also ran a concert hall, the Salle Pleyel, where Chopin played his first and last Paris concerts and which still exists today on the rue du faubourg Saint-Honoré. Pleyel continues to manufacture pianos under the auspices of the Manufacture Française de Pianos.
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