Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

New York

Raoul Dufy
1877 - 1953
Signed Raoul Dufy and dated 07 (lower left)
Oil on canvas
21 1/4 by 25 1/2 in.
54 by 65 cm
Painted in 1907.
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Sidney Janis Gallery, New York

Acquired from the above in 1951


Chicago, Arts Club of Chicago, Les Fauves, 1956


Raymond Cogniat, Raoul Dufy, Paris, 1950, illustrated p. 18

Maurice Laffaille, Raoul Dufy, Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, vol. I, Geneva, 1972, no. 164, illustrated p. 145


Catalogue Note

Painted in 1907, Marine is a product of Raoul Dufy’s most important and ground-breaking period when he pioneered the Fauvist idiom. It was the impact of the 1905 Salon des Indépendents, when Dufy saw Henri Matisse's Luxe, calme et volupté, that resulted in a new energy and vibrancy that helped form his trademark aesthetic. Dufy recalled the significance of this experience in terms of his subsequent artistic development: "At the sight of this picture I understood all the new reasons for painting, and Impressionist realism lost its charm for me as I contemplated the miracle of the imagination introduced into design and colour. I immediately understood the new pictorial mechanics" (quoted in Sarah Whitfield, Fauvism, London, 1996, p. 58).

The scene of a busy port, depicted here with such vibrancy, is a familiar one but the disorientating elevated viewpoint and various compositional framing devices give the work a distinctly modern aesthetic. The upward thrust of the masts and the swirling clouds, lend the work an undeniably dynamic sensibility, which is only heightened by the zesty turquoises and pinks that dominate the palette. Whitfield argues that it was during this period that Dufy realized the artistic potential of atypical compositions: "His recognition of the potential dynamism of the spaces between objects came, so he said, from his understanding that in Cézanne’s still lifes, the spaces between the apples were as beautiful and important as the apples themselves" (ibid., p. 131). This theory is effectively embodied within the present work, in which an astonishing sensation of movement and energy is conveyed by the expanse of water between the moored sailboats. Marine, with its bold palette, is an extraordinary tribute to the excitement and energy of Dufy's Fauve period.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

New York