While regatta scenes enabled Dufy to evoke the jubilance of these seaside occasions, it importantly gave him the opportunity to relish the pursuit of capturing the scintillating effects of light and colour on water. In Les Régates sous la pluie, the sea is largely represented by a sweeping turquoise, yet the depth and ever-changing nature of the sea is evoked by different hues of blue, maroon, purple and white. Indeed, the transient sky, equally in a state of flux, is perfectly encapsulated by the rapid deft strokes of blue and grey which denote the moving clouds across the canvas. The present work has a playful character, enhanced by the spacious composition, which proudly displays the billowing crescent sails of the boats. Moreover, Les Régates sous la pluie exhibits Dufy’s effective approach to perspective and the illusion of space by making the viewer assume the position of spectator on the protruding pier: ‘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 sea… allowing his imagination free reign, he enlivens the foreground’ (Dora-Perez-Tibi, Dufy, London, 1989, pp. 124-25). Dufy’s audacious painterly style creates a genuine sensation of pulsing waves and achieves a relatable reality and a feeling of fantastical charm.
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