Raoul Dufy
(Le Havre, 1877-1953, Forcalquier)
Travelling Show, ca. 1906
Oil on canvas, 54 x 65 cm
Signed bottom, left of center: Raoul Dufy
Laffaille 180
The flagged streets of the 14th of July, which Manet and Monet had already painted, and the colourful gaiety of fairs are among the favourite subjects of the Fauves; this applies to Raoul Dufy and Othon Friesz as well as to Albert Marquet and Henri Manguin. In the summer of 1906 – while Braque and Friesz were painting in the harbour of Antwerp – Dufy is working with Marquet in Le Havre, Sainte-Adresse and Trouville. We constantly find them handling the same motif together, before the posters in Trouville and on the beach at Sainte-Adresse. This leads us to suppose that this travelling stage shown here, with the same theme as Seurat’s "Parade", is located at the fair in Le Havre, which was also painted by Marquet. However, while Marquet painted from a safe vantage-point, a high window, Dufy mingles with the crowd assembled in front of the acrobat’s stand. Dufy takes over from Marquet his broad, self-assured brush-work, which defines shapes in "cloisonné" fashion in order to fill them out with luminous colours, the lemon-yellow of the straw hats, the pink flesh tone of the acrobat and the green of faces in shadow. The stand itself offers a riot of gay colours.