Raymond Coignat remarks that Dufy’s paintings ‘are similar to poems, with a combination of words, the sounds of which are in harmony or are discordant’ (quoted in Raoul Dufy 1877-1953, (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London, 1983, p. 6). In La Rentrée des régates, the varied rhythms of a joyful regatta are reflected in the contrast between broad green brushstrokes that stretch from foreground to horizon, and the billowing crescent sails of the boats; Dufy’s bold brushstrokes overlaid onto the greenish hues of the water, create a genuine sensation of pulsing waves and achieves a relatable reality and a feeling of fantastical charm.
Six years after it was painted, La Rentrée des régates was selected to be displayed in Dufy’s first London exhibition in 1936 at the Lefevre Gallery, certainly in great part due to its dynamic brushwork and joyous atmosphere: undeniable evidence of Dufy’s extraordinary flair as a colourist.
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