Raoul Dufy (1877-1953)
This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When au… Read more
Raoul Dufy (FRANCE, 1877-1953)

14 Juillet au Havre

Raoul Dufy (FRANCE, 1877-1953)
14 Juillet au Havre
signed 'Raoul Dufy' (lower right)
oil on canvas
46 x 38 cm. (18 1/8 x 15 in.)
Painted in 1950
Emilienne Dufy, Nice (wife of the artist).
Alphonse Bellier, Paris (by 1963).
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 18 November 1989, lot 112.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, Paris, 3 December 2013, lot 17.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
M. Laffaille and F. Guillon-Laffaille, Raoul Dufy, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 1985, Supplément, p. 157, no. 2028 (illustrated).
Nice, Galerie des Ponchettes, Hommage a Raoul Dufy, March-May 1954, p. 14, no. 7 (titled 'Rue pavoisée'; dated 1906).
Honfleur, Société des artistes honfleurais, Hommage a Raoul Dufy, July-August 1954, no. 13 (titled 'La rue pavoisée').
Nice, Galerie des Ponchettes, Hommage a Raoul Dufy, July-September 1963, p. 10, no. 6 (titled 'La rue pavoisée'; dated 1906).
Special notice
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Lot Essay

"What Dufy painted no other artist could have rendered, because no other possessed his gift for receiving and reflecting sensations of pleasure, light, and joy… His fine talent as a painter, his masterly use of smooth, brilliant, shining paint, so light and transparent, shows how perfectly his technique suited his artistic feeling." - M. Brion, Raoul Dufy: Paintings and Watercolours, London, 1958, p. 6

Raoul Dufy spent much of his childhood and youth in the bustling port-city of Le Havre in Northern France, and the town came to play an instrumental role in the development of his early Fauve paintings. These pictures marked the artist’s first daring explorations in colour inspired by the art of Henri Matisse and André Derain who had begun the Fauve movement, named as such by the critic Louis Vauxcelles who saw their work in the Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris in 1905. Featuring strong, bold, primary colours, these brightly coloured paintings explore the full vibrancy of colour and gesture. Dufy’s patriotic Bastille Day subject lends itself perfectly to this purpose and represents one of the most important Fauve motifs for the artist, shown in museums worldwide who each hold examples, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

In the summer of 1906, Dufy had been joined in Le Havre by his friend and fellow artist, Albert Marquet. The pair celebrated the French national holiday, Bastille Day, on the 14th of July which inspired Dufy to commence an important series of
paintings in which he attempted to capture a sense of the joyous atmosphere and overwhelming excitement that filled the boulevards of Le Havre during the festivities. This series of paintings defines the very essence of Fauve painting and were painted at the very height of the artist's affiliation with this radical movement. Dora Perez-Tibi has written, "[Dufy] kept creating new variations on the subject like a composer constantly repeating his melodic phrase. This procedure reveals his full control of his means: he gives free rein to his lyricism in order to transpose reality to the advantage of his poetic and visual imagination." (Dufy, New York, 1989, pp.

In 14 juillet au Havre, Dufy focused on the view from the window of his hotel room, to the street below, the Rue Pavoisée which appears festooned in flags, the distinctive colour combination of the French tricolour hanging from every available pole on the thoroughfare. These, along with the celebratory banners, enliven the street scenes into a festive spectacle, as Dufy imbues each flag with its own distinct character. In the foreground of the composition, two of the revellers are glimpsed through the semi-transparent fabric of the foremost flag, which bathes them in its bright, vibrant colours and roots them in the joyous sense of celebration that Dufy experienced on the streets of Le Havre that day.

Towards the end of his life, the artist returned to some of the major themes and images that had occupied him in these important early canvases, revisiting compositions such as 14 juillet au Havre with a renewed sense of fervour and energy. Dufy may have chosen to revisit the scene for the present canvas following a brief trip to Le Havre in April 1950. He had returned to the port town to attend a memorial service for his fellow artist, the late Emile Othon Friesz, and the experience may have rekindled his memories of the ground-breaking summer which had dramatically shaped his art. Like a memory that becomes more vivid than the experience of the original event, the artist's new version of 14 juillet au Havre boasts a bright, light-filled aspect that surpasses the original and represents a patriotic and personal hommage to this important theme within the artist’s significant career.

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