With the end of the Second World War in 1945, like many of his fellow artists Raoul Dufy re-located to the South of France. Saint Paul de Vence became home to an artistic colony that included Matisse, Chagall and Picasso, all of whom congregated in the small hillside village during and in the post-war years.
Having previously visited Vence in the 1920s and created a series of landscapes, in 1945 Dufy returned to the village and painted a series of eight watercolours of posed nudes in his studio. In the present work Dufy joins the interior and exterior, with his nude elegantly reclining in front of the window displaying the olive trees and terraced hills of Vence. Framed against the nude, the landscape is almost a painting within a painting, while the patterned tiles recall Dufy’s interest in oriental decoration, having travelled to Morocco in the 1920s. Drawn to the South of France’s unique quality of light, in ‘L'Atelier à Vence’ Dufy’s joyful use of colour is at the forefront. The swathes of red and purple wash the scene in a gentle glow creating an atmosphere of calm warmth.
A number of Dufy’s other watercolours from this series are now in public collections such as Musée national d’Art Moderne, Paris and Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules-Chéret, Nice.