Jean Dufy

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Jean Dufy
Portrait de Jean Dufy en1935.jpg
BornMarch 12, 1888
DiedMay 12, 1964 (aged 76)
La Boissiere, Boussay, France
Known forPainting, drawing, design, printmaking
MovementFauvism, impressionism, modernism, cubism

Jean Dufy (March 12, 1888 – May 12, 1964) was a French painter of Parisian society, country scenes,[1] circuses, horse races, stages, and orchestras. His work was featured in both gallery and museum exhibitions throughout his career.

Early life and education[edit]

Jean Dufy was born in Le Havre, France on March 12, 1888 into a large family. His older brother was the well-known painter Raoul Dufy,[2] who became a mentor throughout Jean’s career.[3] Jean Dufy had received formal education at the École Primaire Supérieure du Havre.

Early career[edit]

Upon completing his schooling at age 16, Dufy took a job as an itinerant clerk with a French overseas import company, and later as a secretary on the transatlantic liner La Savole which traveled between Le Havre and New York City.

In 1906 Dufy visited an exhibition put on by the "Cercle de l’Art Moderne" in Le Havre, where he discovered the work of Picasso, Derain, with whom become friends years later, and Matisse, whose painture Fenêtre ouverte à Coilloureaurged him to decide to pursue a career as a painter.[4][5] In January 1914 his watercolors were presented at the Galerie Berthe Weill.[6]

World War I[edit]

Shortly after his first exhibition, Dufy was drafted into World War I as a horse soldier. After serving in the military for two years, in 1912 the young artist moved to Paris and settle in Montmartre to participate in the Parisian art scene.

"There was no question of showing the watercolors and the paintings that I had put away in portfolios. I had painted flowers, circuses, seascapes, the family garden, still lifes... I painted with Marquet, Raoul, and Friesz, who were beginning their difficult experience in Paris. They were very kind to me, and I was included in their discussions about painting, where I listened open-mouthed but carefully to everything they said. My vocation received precious support at that time..."[7]

Commercial career[edit]

Returning from the war, Jean Dufy worked briefly with his brother for a textile studio of the Bianchini-Ferier company in Lyon. He then embarked on what would become thirty years of decorating porcelain for Theodore Haviland in Limoges.[8] During those decades the artist developed flower and animal designs for the manufacturer and received the Gold Medal at L’exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs for designing the service "Châteaux de France".[9]

In 1920 he returned to Paris and settled in the artist quarter Montmartre, next door to Georges Braque. Braque, a friend of his brother Raoul Dufy, encouraged him to experiment with the Cubist style. Another of Raoul's friends, Othon Friesz, exposed him to the Fauve movement. He also spent time there with Picasso, Apollinaire, and Derain, among others.[10]

Dufy initially exhibited his work in the Salon d’Automne of 1923. He subsequently exhibited at that Salon in 1924, 1927, and 1932. This Salon took place annually at the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées.[11]

Artistic influences[edit]

After settling in Montmartre, Dufy participated in many exhibitions which reflected the music and art of Parisian culture after the war. In 1920 the comedy Le Boeuf sur le Toit introduced Dufy to the great French musicians of the era,[12] and the 1925 La Revue Negre. A cabaret show performed in Paris in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, featuring the newly popular jazz music brought to France by American soldiers at the end of World War I, also lead to the union of color and music in Dufy’s paintings.[13] During the same period, Dufy also created colorful paintings of circuses and clowns, as well as Parisian street scenes including horse-drawn carriages, the gates of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, and the bridges of the Seine.


Two months after the death of his wife, Jean Dufy died on May 12, 1964, in La Boissiere in the village of Boussay.[14]

Public collections[edit]

Exhibition history[edit]

  • In 1929, Le Cirque is exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris.
  • Dufy exhibits in New York for the first time in 1930 at the Balzac Galleries.
  • In December 1938, the Portland Art Museum organized an exhibition of modern paintings. Dufy was represented by La Chambre des Deputes, which was reproduced on the cover of the exhibition catalogue.
  • Galerie Jos. Hessel in Paris exhibits 150 pieces by Dufy in 1948.
  • In 1952, Dufy had a solo show at the James Vigeveno Gallery in Los Angeles.
  • Van Dieman-Lilienfeld’s (21 East 57th Street, New York, NY) held a show of Dufy’s watercolors and oils in May 1955.[15]
  • In March 1964, Wally Findlay Galleries, Chicago, held an exhibition of roughly 20 paintings by Dufy.[16]
  • Wally Findlay Galleries, New York, held an exhibition in January 1975 that included oil paintings by Jean Dufy.[17]
  • "Family Affairs, Brothers and Sisters in Art", held in 2005-2006 at the Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

Gallery representation[edit]

  • Galerie Jacques Bailly,[18] Paris
  • Galerie Barreiro, Paris
  • Galerie Jos. Hessel, Paris
  • Galerie Drouand-David, Paris
  • James Vigeveno Galleries, Westwood Hills
  • Findlay Galleries, New York and Palm Beach
  • Hammer Galleries, New York
  • Chase Galleries, New York
  • Georges de Braux Gallery, Philadelphia


  1. ^ Don Mangus (2005). Fine Paintings, Sculpture, Photography and Illustrations: Heritage Signature Auction #621, November 17-18, 2005, Dallas, Texas. Heritage Capital Corporation. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-1-932899-98-6.
  2. ^ Jay Winter (1 January 2008). Dreams of Peace and Freedom: Utopian Moments in the Twentieth Century. Yale University Press. pp. 79–. ISBN 978-0-300-12602-0.
  3. ^ Claude Pommereau (4 May 2011). Raoul et Jean Dufy: Accord and Discord. Beaux Arts Editions. ISBN 978-2-84278-836-0.
  4. ^ Raoul Et Jean Dufy: Complicité et rupture. Paris: Musee Marmottan Monet, 2011. 165.
  5. ^ "Jean Dufy." ArtNet. Letters from Raoul Dufy to Jean Dufy, located in the Dufy family archives. <>.
  6. ^ "Jean Dufy at Galerie Berthe Weill." Blouin Art Info. <>.
  7. ^ "Jean Dufy Catalogue". Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  8. ^ Gordon Campbell (9 November 2006). The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts. Oxford University Press. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-19-518948-3.
  9. ^ Faye Strumpf (28 February 2011). Limoges Porcelain Boxes: A Complete Guide. Krause Publications. pp. 10–. ISBN 1-4402-2777-2.
  10. ^ Roussel, Frédérique. "Au pays de l’autre Dufy." Libération 5 May 2011.
  11. ^ Raoul Et Jean Dufy: Complicité et rupture. Paris: Musee Marmottan Monet, 2011. 172.
  12. ^ "Jean Dufy." ArtNet. Autobiographical notes of Jean Dufy, located in the Dufy family archives. <>.
  13. ^ ArtNet. Past Auction. <>.
  14. ^ "Jean Dufy, Artist, Dies at 76." The New York Times, 17 May 1964: n. pag. Web. <>.
  15. ^ "About Art and Artists: Jean Dufy’s Oils and Water-Colors on View-Texture Imprints by Broner." The New York Times 10 May 1955.
  16. ^ Barry, Edward. "Bright is the Word for Dufy’s Art." The New York Times 1 March 1964.
  17. ^ Ferretti, Fred. "New York’s Go-Go Art Market has Gone-Gone." The New York Times 16 February 1975.
  18. ^

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