A boyhood in Le Havre watching big ships and little fishing smacks in the great harbor probably sowed the seed that later blossomed in the late Raoul Dufy as a full-blown romance with boats. He painted them often, in romantic harbors like Algiers and on the rivers of his beloved France, bobbing about on little skipping waves that sprinkle his lovely blue water scenes. But most of all he painted gay regattas at fashionable watering places like Deauville, Trouville and Cowes as in the panoramas on these pages. Here he found the small boats chic and shining, fluttering their pennants on a fashionable breeze. And no one could paint the essence of chic with more éclat than Dufy. Originally a follower of the Impressionists, he became one of "les fauves," the wild ones, when he fell under the spell of Matisse. The free use of color and imaginative distortions enchanted him. By the time he was 40 he had achieved the style for which he is now so famous. Dufy painted a world of loveliness. He once said: "My eyes were made to efface that which is ugly." His skies and seas are bluer, his grass greener, his flowers brighter than Paradise, and all his sailboats have a fair wind in their billowing sails.
'Regatta at Trouville' is a delightful example of one of the late Raoul Dufy's favorite subjects. The famous casino forms a romantic backdrop for his gay little boats.
'Deauville,' a gem of pencil drawing, shows Dufy's impeccable draughtsmanship. Color notes in French on the sails were for reference in preparing future paintings of boats.
'Regatta at Cowes' was painted by Raoul Dufy in the early Thirties at the world famous resort on the Isle of Wight. He often visited there and found the spectacle of yachts dressed for a big regatta the perfect vehicle for his free-flowing brush.