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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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London

Raoul Dufy
1877 - 1953
LA BAIE DES ANGES À NICE
signed Raoul Dufy (lower centre)
oil on canvas
60.7 by 73.3cm., 23 7/8 by 28 7/8 in.
Painted in Nice in 1926.
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Provenance

Lefevre Gallery, London
Carroll Carstairs, New York
Mrs Harry B. Spalding, Buffalo (acquired from the above in 1939)
Private Collection, New York (by descent from the above; sale: Christie's, New York, 5th May 2005, lot 266)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

London, Lefevre Gallery, Raoul Dufy, 1936, no. 15, illustrated in the catalogue
London, Lefevre Gallery, L'École de Paris, 1938, no. 16, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, The Art of our Time, 1939, no. 97, illustrated in the catalogue
Nice, Musée des Beaux Arts, Raoul Dufy, la promenade comme motif, 2015, n.n.

Literature

Pierre Courthion, Raoul Dufy, Paris, 1929, n.n., illustrated pl. 76
The Bystander, London, 14th December 1938, n.n., illustrated in colour n.p.
Glasgow Herald, 1st February 1940, n.n., illustrated n.p.
Maurice Laffaille, Raoul Dufy, Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Geneva, 1973, vol.II, no. 430, illustrated p. 20

Catalogue Note

Dufy’s vistas of the Côte d’Azur are imbibed with lucid Mediterranean light, and seem to capture the lively hum of the Riviera with its ebb and flow of smartly bedecked visitors. The present work shows the renowned stretch of coastline in Nice, La Baie des Anges, running along the right side of the composition, giving primacy to the warm blue spectrum of sea and sky which dominates the centre of the work.

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.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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