‘Maison Blanche et Moulin’ is an exceptional example of the numerous small panels Dufy produced in this period. It demonstrates the artist's continual experimentation with the vibrant palette of Fauvism at this late point in his career. The lyrical use of colour in this rural scene of a modest white house and mill was crucially influenced by Henri Matisse, who ignited Dufy’s interest in the ‘wild beasts’ of the Fauvist movement after he saw ‘Luxe, Calme et Volupté’ at the Salon des Indépendents in 1905.
Here Dufy allows lively patches of violet, green and blue to seep outside his linear design in a highly expressive and inventive composition that frees decorative colour from any mimetic function. With touches of white paint to suggest an imminent rain shower and calligraphic marks denoting trees and buildings, Dufy demonstrates his crucial awareness of design. The hatched brushstrokes of the fields also evoke the enduring influence of Cézanne’s landscapes following Dufy’s pilgrimage to L’Éstaque with Braque in 1907. Gertrude Stein recalled Dufy’s enigmatic Fauvist style after their meeting at her temporary home in Culoz in 1940 saying: “Dufy is pleasure. Think of the colour and it is not that and the line and it is not that, but it is that which is all together and which is the colour that is in Dufy”.
Following the success of the vast Electricity mural in 1937 at the Exposition Universelle, Dufy continued to exhibit during the Second World War. In the same year as ‘Maison, Blanche et Moulin’ was painted the influential art dealer Louis Carré hosted Dufy’s first exhibition of watercolours at his gallery in Paris.
Wildenstein Arte, Buenos Aires
Private Collection (acquired circa 1960)
Fanny Guillon-Laffaille has kindly confirmed that this work will be included in the second supplement of the Catalogue raisonné de l'Oeuvre peint de Raoul Dufy currently in preparation.
This work is accompanied by certificate no. P15-9148 from Fanny Guillon-Laffaille, dated 11 March 2015.