The public is invited to join the Muscatine Art Center in welcoming Carol Ehlers, art history speaker, as she presents a 45 minute lecture on the art of French artist Raoul Dufy. The lecture will take place Thursday May 23 at 5:30 pm in the Muscatine Art Center's Music Room. Admission is free.
Raoul Dufy was a French painter who made his mark on the 20th Century as he helped to create a modern visual sensibility and perception. His cheerful oils and watercolors depict events of the time period, including yachting scenes, sparkling views of the French Riviera, chic parties, and musical events.
Born in Le Havre near Normandy, France in June 1877, Dufy soon showed some rare talent for drawing. To make money for his family, he left school at the age of fourteen to work in a coffee-importing company, but took art classes in the evening. At the age of 18, he started taking evening classes in art at Le Havre's municipal art school. During this period, Dufy painted mostly Norman landscapes in watercolors after being influenced by the Impressionists such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.
From 1904-1905, fascinated by a painting by Henri Matisse, Dufy turned to Fauvism. The Fauves emphasized bright color and bold contours in their work. He then discovered the work of Paul Cézanne which led him to adopt a somewhat subtler technique. Still he only adhered to the Fauve movement during three years until 1909 after finding that he needed to instill more austerity and soberness in his works, thus his movement into Cubism. His true personality started to blossom though the public was not immediately receptive to his works.
In 1913, his painting Le Jardin abandonné (The abandoned garden) contained the early signs of what made Dufy's work so original: the dissociation of color and drawing. Dufy felt that colors had their own lives, going beyond the object, giving structure to his paintings. By 1950, his hands were struck with rheumatoid arthritis and his ability to paint diminished. Dufy died in France, in March 1953, and was buried near Matisse in Cimiez, France.
In 1992 the Muscatine Art Center's collections were significantly enriched by a gift of twenty-seven works of art by Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Degas, Boudin, Chagall, Renoir, and other European artists. The collection was a gift from the estate of Mary Musser Gilmore in honor of her parents, Richard Drew Musser and Sarah Walker Musser. The paintings are on permanent display in the Laura Musser Mansion.