- Raoul Dufy
- Rue pavoisée au Havre
- Signed Raoul Dufy (lower right)
- Oil on canvas
Galerie Sakai, Tokyo
Acquired from the above circa 2002
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), 1953, no. 16 (titled Le 14 Juillet au Havre)
Nancy, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Raoul Dufy, 1956, no. 37
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Exposition Universelle Internationale de Bruxelles, 50 ans d'art moderne, 1958
New York, Galerie Hirschl & Adler, Raoul Dufy, 1965, no. 5
Hamburg, Kunstverein, Matisse et ses amis les Fauves, 1966, no. 26, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Paris, Galerie Europe, Hommage à Raoul Dufy, 1967, no. 2
Hamburg, Kunstverein, Matisse und seine Freunde, Les Fauves, 1966, no. 8, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Paris, Museé d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Raoul Dufy, Le plaisir, 2008, no. 14, illustrated in color in the catalogue
The present work was painted in 1906, a seminal year in the career of the young artist. He exhibited in both the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d'Automne, and opened his first one-man show at the gallery of Berthe Weill in Paris. He also found time to travel to Normandy with his companion, the painter Albert Marquet, and the two worked side by side in Le Havre, Honfleur and Trouville. The works produced during this trip, which return to themes he frequently painted at earlier stages in his career, illustrate how his aesthetic priorities had been transformed by Fauvism. Vibrant, spare works such as Fête nautique and La Plage du Havre show how Dufy had reinvented his artistic vision, giving priority to color and form as an expression of his inner vision. In an unpublished manuscript, Dufy explained his understanding of the significance of color: "When I talk about colour, it will be understood that I am not talking about the colours of nature, but about the colours of painting, about the colour of our palettes, the words from which we form our pictorial language..., do not imagine I am confusing colour with painting, but since I make colour the creative element of light – as we should never forget – since I see colour itself as nothing but a generator of light, it is clear that it shares this role with drawing, the great 'builder' of painting, its principal element" (quoted in D. Perez-Tibi, Dufy, New York, 1989, p. 25).
However, over and beyond the use of Fauvist color, Rue pavoisée au Havre illustrates how Dufy had begun to simplify the compositional forms of his works. Strident blocks of color interact with rhythms created by horizontal and diagonal flag poles, demonstrating Dufy's move towards a more abstracted vision of reality. This tendency might have owed something to the influence of Gauguin; the 1906 Salon d'Automne had brought his work to the general public's attention, and the simplified planes and blocks of color in his works had a profound influence of numerous artists. The simplicity and lack of ornament in these works is a signal of the direction Dufy's art was taking in this critical period in his career.
Dora Perez-Tibi wrote about the trends in Dufy's art: "Dufy's style was becoming increasingly spare and synthetic... Superfluous details are suppressed in favour of a rigorous construction of the composition as a whole, based on a linear plan reduced to an interplay of horizontals and diagonals which make a vast abstract plastic space against which figures stand out in harmony of colour [...] This desire to stress linear rhythm in the construction of his composition is seen in the works painted in 1907 [...] while he remained devoted to a sustained chromaticism, he arranged his forms in a tiered perspective: the greatest emphasis is placed on a rigorous geometrical style which defines the structure repeated throughout the composition" (ibid., pp. 30-31).