All three artists were born in Le Havre in Normandy, and were strongly influenced by the landscape of the area. The palette employed by Dufy and Friesz in particular—although luminous and glowing—was also somewhat more subtle than the bold colors utilized by Vlaminck, Derain and Matisse, as seen in the pearly pinks and mellow greens of the present work. Fauve Scholars Alvin Martin and Judi Freeman have noted the importance of this “Havrais” trio: “The Fauves Havrais addressed a wide spectrum of concerns, making it difficult to define a single Fauve style or subject… To be Fauve in spirit was not just to paint in bright colors… Friesz essentially led the trio of distant cousins into the Fauve orbit; Braque led them out. Their association with the Fauves, coupled with their deep-seated beliefs in Norman—and by extension, northern—values…transformed their careers” (quoted in “The Distant Cousins in Normandy” in The Fauve Landscape (exhibition catalogue), Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York & Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1990-91, p. 236).
While they were all influenced by the bucolic forests and atmospheric coasts of Normandy, they were all deeply inspired by the simultaneous man-made beauty and frenzy of post-Haussmann Paris. Yet it is the linear architectural elements against the clear sky and the green water which is most striking to the artist, recalling a deep appreciation of the changing effects of light most apparent in the work of Monet and Seurat.
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