"Raoul Dufy: The Melody of Happiness," an exhibition currently underway at the West Bund Museum, gives a panoramic view of work by Dufy (1877-1953), a major 20th century artist.
The exhibition, presented by the Centre Pompidou, constitutes a complete retrospective of the oeuvre of Dufy, and is made up from the considerable collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, which inherited Dufy's studio collection in 1963.
Dufy's diverse output was not limited merely to easel painting but also extended to the decorative arts, drawing, engraving, and mural decors.
The exhibition features 120 pieces, including some 60 paintings displayed in a layout that is both chronological and theme-based, with 12 sections enabling visitors to become acquainted with Dufy's artistic trajectory.
Born in Le Havre, an industrial port situated in Normandy, Dufy first made a name for himself as a landscape painter and a talented heir to Impressionism. In 1906, he ranked among the leading painters of the Fauvre Movement, who, breaking with their elders, used vivid colors to render landscapes and portraits with a fast brush.
The exhibition opens with three self-portraits in very different styles, showing the artist at three different periods in his long career.
Dufy also tried his hand at Cubism with his friend Georges Braque, the two painting geometrized views of L'Estaque near Marseille in 1908.
It is interesting for visitors to see the various facets of Dufy, as the exhibition also includes fabrics and ceramics created by the artist.
Collaborating with Paul Poiret, the greatest couturier of the day, and with a fabric manufacturer in Lyon for whom he designed patterns, Dufy played an active role in the radical renewal of fashion in the 1920s.
Dufy also dedicated himself to grand mural decors such as "The Electricity Fairy," commissioned for the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937. This masterly composition, represented in the exhibition by a lithographic version largely brushed up by the artist, depicts in a large half-natural, half-industrial landscape some 100 scientists associated with the invention of electricity.
The exhibition concludes with the final moving series of "Black Cargo Ships." For this evocation of the port of his hometown, which was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, Dufy used large blacks of black to represent how our eyes are dazzled by sunlight.
Date: Through February 25, 2024 (closed on Mondays), 10am-5pm
Venue: West Bund Museum
Address: 2600 Longteng Ave