At the centre of the bay, the distinctive shape of La Jetée-Promenade is visible. The iconic casino and music-hall was taken up by Dufy as something of a motif, crystallising the elegant coterie and alluring ambience which had become synonymous with the French Riviera. The casino features in several of Dufy’s works painted in Nice; the artist even recalled and repainted the structure from memory after it was destroyed for its metals in 1944.
Dufy’s bold palette and gestural brushwork is rooted in the rhetoric of Fauvism, but this comes up against the artist’s predilection for line drawing, which lends an illustration-like quality to his work. This tendency towards a style most associated with story-telling is compounded by the artist’s unique approach to perspective: “Dufy created a theatrical architecture which provided the illusion of space: he conceived his set as a window which allows a view from above, increasing the size of the stage and enabling the painter to extend his vision across the expanse of the sea… Dufy uses an imaginary perspective and gives certain elements of his composition an importance related to his own personal vision. Allowing his imagination free reign, he enlivens the foreground…” (Dora Perez-Tibi, Dufy, London, 1989, pp. 124-25).
Dufy’s paintings of the Côte d’Azur are paradigmatic of the artist’s oeuvre in both their representation of space, and their considered yet luminescent use of colour, providing a true insight into the resplendent vie mondaine of the 1920s.
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