Raoul DUFY (1877-1953)
Dufy was a painter of joy: his style, his subject matter, and his light, bright colors reflect a joy in life and in creating works which impart to the viewer a sensuous delight. Deeply rooted in the French decorative tradition that includes Watteau, Fragonard, and Boucher, he was an amused observer and recorder of the fashionable world around him – of horse races and yachting scenes, sparkling views of the Riviera, chic parties and musical events. The wit and elegance of Dufy’s calligraphic draftsmanship, combined with a magnificent control of intense color harmonies, give his work its characteristic style.
Posters as an art form were invented by Jules Chéret in Paris in the 1860’s. Their proliferation and refinement were the result of advances in printing technology, a relaxation of laws regulating the press, and a booming demand for the advertisement of ‘modern’ products and of the Parisian lifestyle in the Belle Epoque (1871 – 1914). In journals, books, theater programs, and posters, the graphic arts soon transcended their commercial function and became art objects sought out by art collectors worldwide.