Prints, Patterns, and Paintings: Raoul Dufy

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Artist Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) would come to be remembered by the landscapes he painted in the country in which he was born: France, focusing particularly on the capital, Paris, known for its dynamic artistic communities in the 20th century, and the resort-worthy Riviera. Though his formal study of art began at the age of 18 at the École d’Art in Le Havre, and he spent the early part of his career inspired by contemporary impressionist painters like Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, one of his major contributions to the art world is often little discussed: his work with textiles.

Though his commitment to painting never waned, Dufy developed a relationship with French fashion designer Paul Poiret, touted as the Picasso of couture clothing design. In 1911, Poiret, who had seen innovative potential in Dufy’s work across multiple medias – from woodblocking to illustrating – commissioned the fine artist to create a letterhead design with woodblocks for his furniture and accessories business.

A collaborative foray in decorative art, Poiret provided the financial means for Dufy, who was still establishing himself, to make a living doing what he loved. Opening a studio deemed La Petite Usine (“The Little Factory”), Dufy enhanced solid colored silks, velvets, and satins with hand carved woodcuts he designed, adding color with wooden sticks. Going beyond their original intent to limit the textiles to use on upholstered furniture, Poiret ended up using many of Dufy’s floral prints on capes, coats, and dresses – one of which was featured in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2007.

Though Dufy would go on to continue working with Poiret, in 1912, he took a job with Bianchini-Férier, where he created over 5,000 textiles and had the luxury to focus on design rather than production. By 1928, Dufy left Bianchini-Férier to realign his attention and focus primarily on painting. Nevertheless, he certainly strutted his stuff in the world of fashion during his career in textile making, his prints used by high-end designers like Chistian Lacroix, Mongi Guibane, and of course, his original financial supporter and artistic collaborator, Poiret.


Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.

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