The colorful Paris of a mischievous Dufy



Perched at the near top of the Butte Montmartre, the former studio of artist Raoul Dufy, rue Cortot in Paris, is once again opening its doors to him. The current Montmartre Museum invites, through the exhibition “Le Paris de Raoul Dufy”, to discover how the capital was a prolific source of inspiration for the eclectic work of the painter from Le Havre.

The two self-portraits of the artist with a frank gaze and a concentrated, almost sulky air, located at the beginning of the course, reflect the determination of young Raoul, who arrived in Paris in 1900. “He then wanted to conquer the capital », Smiles Didier Schulmann, co-curator of the exhibition. Mainly known for his Norman landscapes and his Provençal paintings, Raoul Dufy will keep a Parisian anchorage throughout his life and his work.

The rooms of the Montmartre museum are full of shimmering colors. Paris is a city of fascination for the artist “ yet he doesn’t really penetrate her, he flies over the capital, as if he were levitating above her », Didier Schulmann analyzes. The paintings depicting his studio at the dead end Guelma are dazzling: candy pink hues mingle with azure blue. Raoul Dufy is interested in buildings, architecture, the great Parisian monuments.

A distant gaze

The city is conducive to meetings. In 1911, he illustrated the collection of Apollinaire The Bestiary or the procession of Orpheus. The many details and the floral register proposed by Dufy will constitute a real ” graphic procession ”In which the artist will draw for the rest of his life, according to Didier Schulmann. And this, whatever its working medium: from the textile during its collaboration with the couturier Paul Poiret to the upholstery for furniture ordered by the Beauvais manufacture, obviously including its multiple sketches and paintings.

On the armchairs and sofa of the Mobilier National, Raoul Dufy represents the Louvre Palace, the Arc de Triomphe, the Madeleine… adorned with flowers in spring colors. ” Despite the character postcard of his work, Dufy has always kept a distanced, even ironic look at the representation of Paris ”, explains Didier Schulmann. A daring way for the artist to make fun of the magical image of the city. At the end of his life, he will illustrate a tourist guide to Paris. This time, the Eiffel Tower is bathed in a dark and mysterious atmosphere, unlike that designed for national furniture, several years earlier. ” This atmosphere is almost apocalyptic », Notes the commissioner.

The presence of black grew at the end of Raoul Dufy’s life, just like at the end of the exhibition, like the black sun drawn for the Planetarium poster. Another snub from Raoul Dufy who himself will say: ” the sun at the zenith is black: we are dazzled; in front, we no longer see anything “.

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