Fanny Guillon-Laffaille has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
This gouache is a study for a stage set design that the Comte Etienne de Beaumont, a leading patron of the theater and a director, commissioned from Dufy in 1933 for the ballet Palm Beach. The piece was set to a libretto Réné Kerdyck, with music by Jean Françaix. Léonide Massine choreographed the dances for the Ballets-russes de Monte-Carlo. The backdrop of this plein-air ballet is the beach at Cannes, seen through an awning and verandah of the casino "Palm Beach." This setting was ideally suited to the flattened space and panoramic formats that were the hallmarks of Dufy's pictorial style. This subject, moreover, was the artist's forte--he had depicted nautical imagery in his work from the early years of his career, when as a young painter he featured in his paintings the resort areas and seaside attractions in and around his native Le Havre.
Dufy provided the costumes as well, creating colorful bathing suits accessorized by flowing scarves, which echoed the whorls of the central shell and the motion of the sea. Palm Beach was premiered at the Théâtre des Champs Elysees, Paris, on 8 June 1934, and two years it was performed at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.