Effortless and Bold: The Work of French Painter Raoul Dufy

Scenic designers often draw inspiration from art of the era shown onstage, and for this production of Private Lives, designer Allen Moyer was drawn to an icon of French painting: “My mind went to this wonderful painter Raoul Dufy,” he says. “He’s one of my favorite painters and is exactly the right period.”

Dufy was born in 1877, lived in France for his entire life, and actively painted from 1901 until his death in 1953. His paintings represent the French school of fauvism, founded by Henri Matisse and André Derain. Eschewing strict realism, fauvist artists favored bold colors and expressive, painterly brush strokes. (Dufy once said, “My eyes were made to erase all that is ugly.”)

The curtain for the first act is aftera reproduction of a Dufy painting of the Harbor at Deauville, where the initial scene in Private Lives is set. The second and third acts show a Dufy scene of Paris. “Dufy’s work feels so fresh,” Moyer says. “To me, a painting of his is like the play – effortless, like someone just threw it off.”

— Charles Haugland

© 2021 The Huntington. All rights reserved | Trouble viewing this site? Please download Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.