MARCH 12 - Birth of Jean Jacques Gustave Dufy at Le Havre. Son of Léon Marius Dufy, accountant, and Marie Eugénie Ida Dufy, maiden name Lemonnier.
Seventh of 11 children:
Only Henriette had a child: Colette.
JULY 9 - Awarded the certificat d'études primaires élémentaires at Le Havre.
JUNE 16 - Student in the Business department of the école primaire supérieure du Havre, enseignement. He asks the inspector of the Académie de la Seine-Inférieure to include his name on the list of candidates for the certificat d'études primaires supérieures.
Placed in an overseas import firm by his father. He writes in his autobiographical notes*:"The office atmosphere was stifling, although my job as a commercial agent meant I spent time at a harbor among all the exotic products being unloaded from the cargo ships like so much treasure."
*The hand-written autobiographical notes of Jean Dufy are preserved in the family archives.
MAY-JUNE - "Le Cercle de L'Art Moderne", with founding members Othon Friesz, Raoul Dufy, Georges Braque, organized their forst exhibit at the town hall of Le Havre. Matisse, Camoin, Derain, Picasso, and Manguin all participated. Jean Dufy saw a painting by Henri Matisse entitled La plage rouge in this exhibit, a painting he calls Fenêtre ouverte in his notes.
Jean is nineteen years old. His first works are noticed by a number of art lovers.
Raoul Dufy writes to him from Marseille: "Congratulations on your sale to Dussueil*, I was sure he would appreciate your latest still life after tasting your other watercolors. I imagine he also stuffed you full of good advice, but be wary of good advice from collectors, it's boring and dangerous..."
*G. Dussueil, one of the founding members of the "Cercle de L'Art Moderne".
He applies to be an écrivain (writer) for the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. Thanks to his excellent knowledge of German and English, he is hired, and leaves on January 1st, to the surprise of his family confronted with the embarkation order he takes out of his pocket. Secretary to the commissaire on board the transatlantic ocean liner "La Savoie", his job involved recording answers to questionnaires about the passengers traveling to the United States. Bewildered by the town of New York, he tries to paint, but fails. He visits the galleries but is too shy to present himself as a painter, being a "navigateur" officially. he writes in his notes: "The few dollars we had did not suffice to penetrate the pleasures of the town. I had cards for the theaters and the Manhattan opera where I heard excellent Italian operas, and for the Metropolitan which gave symphony concerts as well as the Olympia where, if memory serves, I saw lavish reviews produced..."
In eighteen months he made about fifteen round trips to the United States before being called up for military service. A cavalier de deuxième classe, he was assigned to the 7th Chasseurs à cheval, a cavalry regiment.
Raoul Dufy, in a non-dated letter from the château d'Orgeville par Pacy-sur-Eure*, offers to help his brother: I will do everything I can to recommend you to the officers of your regiment, which will hopefully be possible thanks to my relations with the cavalry here..."
*Raoul Dufy stayed in the château d'Orgeville from 1909-1910.
During his army leaves, Jean Dufy sometimes went to Paris, which he discovered after New York.
APRIL - Emilienne Dufy, the wife of Raoul, wrote: "I infinitely regret that you were not able to extend your leave, as you could have visited Paris a bit more. Let us hope you succeed next time and that you will soon be coming to live permanently in Paris..."
Freed from military service, he moves to Montmartre, with "many projects and little money. There was no question of showing the watercolors and the paintings that I had put away in portfolios. I had painted flowers, circuses, seascapes, the family garden, still lifes...
I painted with Marquet, Raoul, and Friesz, who were beginning their difficult experience in Paris. They were very kind to me, and I was included in their discussions about painting, where I listened open-mouthed but carefully to everything they said. My vocation received precious support at that time..."
He also met Georges Braque, whom he had already met at Le Havre, André Derain, who was to become a close friend, Max Jacob and Picasso, whose signature was later to be found in the visitor's book at his exhibits.
Jean Dufy wrote about this period in his notes: "I was able to exercise my talent as a colorist in a fabric design studio for a Lyon cloth manufacturer. I composed arabesques for the Maison George, whose director appreciated the 'bad design' style which was then fashionable. I earned good money and was happy to be working with my brushes. I must admit that I was as zealous in this work as in painting, and I truly enjoyed combining the colors. This did not, however, stop me from painting and improved my technique."
In a letter with no sign of a date* or location, Raoul, in a moment of discouragement, advised his younger brother: "It seems to me that you are haunted by the search for a new kind of beauty, which should suffice to fill the life of a man. Work when you want to, you can send your watercolors to Weill and then we'll see, but keep all these hopes and projects hidden..."
He finishes the letter by saying: You may be wondering at home what the arrival of a pair of shoes and used pants may mean, but it's only to have them repaired..."
*It is possible to date this letter in 1913 thanks to Berthe Weill.
JANUARY 15-31 - First one-man show for Jean Dufy at the Galerie Berthe Weill, 25 rue Victor Massé, Paris.
He writes in his notes: "I painted for a long time in watercolor and gouache, or actually a combination of gouache and watercolor. The gouache layer served as a background, while the liquid watercolor provided subtle nuances."
he probably met Guillaume Apollinaire at this time, as he speaks about him in his notes for that period.
AUGUST 2-4 - Mobilization.
Jean Dufy writes: "I left for the war on the second day of the Mobilization. As an ambulance driver, I was in the battle of Charleroi with the 24th Infantry. After training in artillery, I became a liaison agent, a Battery cyclist. During the calmer moments, I painted watercolors of flowers, landscapes, and our Captain's horse, which I painted not only in a fixe bleu*, but, the next day, I interpreted it in red..."
* A small oil painting covered with a glaze that replaces varnish (Paul Robert, Société du nouveau Littré, 1966). Here Jean Dufy is using the term in a metaphorically.
JANUARY 12- First edition of the "Salonique" Porcelaine Française designed by the Haviland Frères manufacturer in four color ranges: Chinese red, yellow, blue and ivory black.
Assigned to heavy artillery.
DECEMBER 16 - A letter from Haviland Frères was sent to the 103rd Heavy Artillery, 9th Group, 15th Battery SP 92*. I have received your letters dated October 13th containing a series of designs which, except for numbers 4 and 4 bis and perhaps number 2, do not interest us, as they are not appropriate designs for Porcelain.
Furthermore, the dark blue 'à plats'** are very difficult to obtain. They have a tendency to flake when baked. The 4 bis is pleasant although it gives a tricolor impression. The two designs need to be reworked. There is no hurry because the designs we have already accepted have not yet been produced, and before accepting new designs, we would like to see how the first ones come out."
*The address corresponds to a garrison posted at Fresnoy-la-Rivière in the Oise department (information provided by the historical department of the land forces).
**The term "à plats" is not found in the Dictionnaire de la langue française by E. Littré (published by Hachette in 1873), nor in more recent dictionaries. Contemporary spelling is usually "aplat", meaning flat area (Dictionnaire couleurs, Hachette, 1991).
AUGUST 26 - A letter from Raoul from Saint-Cyr [l’Ecole?] where he has been posted: "I was very pleased to receive your letter of the 19th because I learned that you are in calm area. I was afraid that you had returned to the fighting. The mountain air must feel deliciously light after the battle. I hope you will stay there for a long time and that you have a chance to work, which will only increase your pleasure [...] "Try to get leave for the 13th, Jeanne's marriage, I won't be able to go..."
Jeanne Dufy married Maurice Morin.
Jean is demobilized. "After 52 months of service, I saved my skin and bones- 45 kilos of jockey-weight", he wrote.
He stayed in Le Val-d'Ajol in the Vosges mountains.
Moves to 2 square Caulaincourt in the 18th arrondissement of Paris.
In his autobiographical notes, Jean writes: "When I returned from the war in 1920, I had a studio rue Caulaincourt that overlooked the western part of Paris, Saint-Denis, and Saint-Ouen. An extraordinary light where objects took on the colored transparency of the precious stones..."
And "during the Bœuf sur le toit* era, with Raoul, I collaborated on the show given at the Comérdie des Champs-Elysées."
* The first performance of the Bœuf sur le toit by Jean cocteau was given on February 21, 1920 (decor by Raoul Dufy).
And also: "I worked with Raoul for a while, and directed his fabric design studio.* He advised me to begin painting. You have better things to do, he said. His confidence and my own desire to begin that adventure gave me a great deal of courage."
*The design studio was among many that provided designs in gouache and watercolor for the soieries lyonnaises Bianchini-Férier. Raoul worked for Bianchini-Férier from 1912 to 1928.
JUNE 22 - Raoul Dufy, in another letter to his brother, wrote: "Work hard and don't worry about anything else, let the others run ahead, you'll catch up at some point. You can come here in August, you'll have a well-deserved house and magnificent landscapes. Continue to work hard. I will probably have to come see Bianchini before he leaves on vacation and I'll be very happy if I can show him a good collection of sketches, then you'll be in good shape. I can see that we could produce work in alternation, because I could take advantage of what you find, and you could do the same when I begin developing sketches..."
Yet another stay in Le Val-d'Ajol in the Vosges mountains.
FEBRUARY 15-MARCH 8 - Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy at the Galerie Panardie, 13 rue Bonaparte, Paris. Pascin was one of the painters that Jean often spent time with in Montmartre. In his notes he describes Pascin as "a charming friend, with the generosity of an Eastern prince"
JULY 13 - Pascin thanks him and declines Jean Dufy's offer to share his studio: "Excuse me for not giving you an answer for the studio. I only saw the friend with whom I have to leave my things yesterday. His studio is very large, and there are other advantages also. For example, since he often goes to Paris for the summer, even at a distance I will be able to get the paintings I might need, and I hope you will forgive me if I decide to accept this place. I hope to run into you some time soon at Montmartre. If not, farewell until autumn."
Other painter friends, less famous, included Robert Naly from Switzerland who set up shop in Montmartre in 1927. Jean Dufy, Leprin, and Utter all invited him to their studios.
AUGUST - Stays in Bussière-Poitevine in the Limousin area.
There he met William Haviland*, the new Director of Porcelain manufacturer Théodore Haviland, through an introduction by Guy Haviland, the younger brother of William.
*William succeeded his father Théodore Haviland as head of the company in 1919.
DECEMBER - Jean Dufy presents a design for a porcelain service entitled "Centre panier fleuri". It was simplified and presented a second time in September of the following year, and produced in 1923.
FEBRUARY - In a letter from Italy, Raoul Dufy wrote "My regards to your friend [woman]" for the first time. He was probably referring to Ismerie Louise Coutut, nicknamed Lily.
During this period, Jean's activity as a decorator included designs for Porcelaine Théodore Haviland of Limoges, the Soieries de Lyon, for fabrics made on a special "dentelle de Calais" loom, and finally for Pyrex table services.
DECEMBER 30 - A civil marriage at the Mairie of the 18th arrondissement of Jean Dufy and Ismérie Louise Coutut, born in Preuilly-sur-Claise on May 21, 1899, daughter of Silvain Antoine Coutut and Alice Marie Louise Guérineau, a confectioner.
Ismerie Coutut was divorced from Jean Jules Delesalle. The couple had no children and lived six months in the country, and the other six months in Paris. They ended their days in the Touraine region at La Boissière, a hamlet attached to Boussay.
Suzanne Valadon painted several portraits of Ismerie Dufy. "Her shyness prevented her from accepting a portrait she was offered", wrote Jean in his notes.
FEBRUARY 18 - First series of the "décor Dufy" manufactured, based on a basket of fruits (porcelain by Théodore Haviland).
SUMMER - A stay in the Limousin area.
AUGUST 20 - William Haviland confirms the purchase of three designs for 500 francs.
OCTOBER - Design project for a porcelain service entitled "Jetés France"; project abandoned (Haviland archives).
NOVEMBER 1-DECEMBER 16 - Exhibits two paintings at the Salon d'Automne at the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, Paris: Nature morte au paysage and Nature morte.
NOVEMBER 24 - L. (Lawrence) d'Albis, brother-in-law of William Haviland, buys a painting for 800 francs, plus 200 francs for the frame.
JANUARY 2 - Jean write to William Haviland from Paris: "Dear Sir, Your brother has given you the design of "Châteaux de France": I apologize for the delay in executing this design, but I think you will appreciate this version. I changed a few details and it seems less disjointed and closer to the original sketch.
Guy has also given you:
1- "Coquelicots, bleuets et blé".
2- "Le cirque", which can be developed if you find the idea interesting.
3- A three-color border* (suitable for an exposition) that you already saw during my last visit.
I believe that these may be appropriate for your new shapes, the decorated corners - for example, in 'Les Coquelicots' - to replace to advantage the border that is difficult to apply and a bit dull and monotonous.
Moreover, I am convinced that to create innovative porcelaine for your 'Nouveautés', we need to focus on the way the design is arranged on the porcelaine, what we call the 'eye'..."
*He is probably referring to the "Bussière" decor.
APRIL 26 - Golden anniversary celebration for Léon and Marie Dufy surrounded by their children. At this time, Jean Dufy’s parents lived at 10 rue de Normandie at Le Havre.
JUNE – Jean and Ismérie Dufy spent time at the Bussière-Poitevine. Jean paints a series of watercolors of the Limousin area.
OCTOBER 5 – First series of the “Bussière” décor porcelain based on a design of blue roses on a white background (porcelain by Théodore Haviland).
NOVEMBER 1-DECEMBER 14 – Exhibits three paintings at the Salon d’Automne held in the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris: Le marché, foire en Limousin, and Le moulin.
NOVEMBER 13 – Letter from William Haviland on a vegetable dish to be adapted to the “Epis” (ear of wheat) design: “To ensure that this piece remains pure in design, eliminating any unnecessary accessories, we have decided not to include handles on the bowl. Only the cover includes the indispensable knob. […] Given that the design for the decoration of the service was based on the ear of wheat motif, the first idea that comes to mind is to develop the concept of the ear for the knob. Imagine a button that would have the shape of an ear of wheat, with the stalk lying on the side, or something else?” In reply, Jean Dufy proposes in addition “The idea of the sheaf of wheat, an ornamental knob of a sheaf of ears similar to the ears on the borders…”
NOVEMBER 15 – First series of the “Pilgrim”* service, known as the “Châteaux de France”, a polychrome design in 16 shades that marks the beginning of modern art at Haviland due to its new shape. On the back of its signature Jean Dufy in blue and the THÉODORE HAVILAND FRANCE stamp in green.
*The name pays homage to the family’s Quaker origins. The year 1923 marked the third centennial of the “Mayflower Compact” that was signed when the first immigrants with “unconventional” religious convictions arrived in New England, fleeing persecution by Charles I (Laurens d’ Albis).
The years 1924-1925 were prolific. Dufy also created, for Porcelaine Théodore Haviland, designs based on incrustation techniques: “Syringa”, “Feuille de chêne”, and “Serpent”.
FEBRUARY 4-20 – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy, Galerie Vavin-Raspail, 28 rue Vavin, Paris.
APRIL-OCTOBER - Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris, Grand Palais de Champs-Elysées. La Porcelaine Théodore Haviland services table porcelaine fine décorée was exhibited at the Art at Industrie de la Céramique pavilion at stand E bis, showing the “Châteaux de France” and “Pivoines”* services.
*In the List of Awards, Porcelaine Théodore Haviland is listed as Hors concours (ineligible for competition because of superiority), and Jean Dufy was awarded a gold medal.
Jean d’Albis writes: “Entirely new work was presented at the Decorative Arts exhibit. Animals by Sandoz, engraved vases by Dufy, and especially his “Châteaux de France” design made a sensation, and the manufacturer was awarded the ‘Hors concours, Membre du Jury’ medal. […] William Haviland visited the exhibit with Jean Dufy, absorbing everything, and asking for explanations on the influences and transpositions – for him it was a true revelation. However, he was perhaps even more impressed by a remark by his new friend, who regretted that porcelain specialists had not understood the implications of the Cubist movement for decorating such a 'beautiful and demanding’ material. Convinced of the relevance of these observations, William Haviland developed many new shapes for his customers, entirely different from traditional designs.” (Jean d’Albis, HAVILAND, Editions Dessain et Tolra, Paris, 1988, p.73-74).
NOVEMBER – Exhibit at the Galerie Legède, 21 rue Drouot, Paris.
NOVEMBER 20 – Death of his father, Léon Dufy, at the age of eighty in his home 10 rue de Normandie at Le Havre.
SPRING – Spends time in Villefranche-sur-Mer. Travels to Venice.
NOVEMBER 5-DECEMBER 19 – Exhibits a painting at the Salon d’Automne, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris: Fleurs.
A stay at Le Havre and Belle-Ile-en-Mer.
MARCH 7 – William Haviland thanks Jean Dufy for his gift of a “Venice” canvas as well as two watercolors, and hopes Jean is happy with the table services given to commemorate the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs.
Jean Dufy and Ismérie, his wife, move to 4 rue de Villeneuve at Garches (the Seine-et-Oise area near Paris).
NOVEMBER 5-DECEMBER 18 – Exhibits a painting at the Salon d’Automne, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris: Le cirque.
JUNE – Exhibit of “Recent gouaches and watercolors” at the Galerie Dalpayrat in Limoges.
A stay in the Limousin area and L’île d’Yeu.
OCTOBER 22 – A letter from Jean Dufy (2 square Caulaincourt) to William Haviland: “After considerable thought and hesitation, I believe I have found an idea for the Celadon service*. I am enclosing several trials, of which two sketches seem to me complete:
1- The ear of wheat motif which I have changed to make it appear rich although still in color.
2- For the border of the butterflies, I think the initial design is rather good, and I’m not worried about the width because the design is very light. The engraver should not smooth out the line, but keep the tight quality, and we could even use the designs separately in series for the smaller pieces.
3- I am also enclosing a project based on triangles. The design is not really finalized, but I think the idea merits further development.
4- Another project, where I have jotted down the elements somewhat haphazardly, would be a kind of illustration of the ‘Book of the Jungle’ by R. Kipling. The design for the plates needs to be found, and also perhaps the size of the design. The largest would be the elephant, the smallest the birds and butterflies. We would have a design somewhat similar to the “Châteaux de France” ,but I could keep it in a softer range and make it less hard. I’m also enclosing a few cutout designs so that you can place them on the celadon plate I have designed them for. I’m also working on the ‘Cirque’ where I am only keeping the design in the middle. I’ll make the horses smaller and combined differently, and eliminate the red border…”
*Industrial celadon, manufactured with the help of Pierre Vandermarck, is a special kind of tinted clay, that gives the porcelain a uniformly pale, slightly grey-green tinge.
Jacques Chardonne in Les destinées sentimentales wrote about celadon as follows: “-Why is this substance so beautiful? Perhaps because the manufacturing process is such a difficult one. Its quality is due to a few extra degrees of heat in the kiln, a temperature where colors can change at any time…This is how I keep ahead of the competition and overcome the obstacles placed in my way by the union. My porcelain is more expensive, but it is also much more beautiful.
-Is there anyone left who can appreciate its beauty, who can sense the difference between this exquisitely colored plate and the more ordinary, more common porcelain, almost always the same wherever you go?
-That is the question. As for me, I’ve answered it. I have faith…the most adventurous kind of faith…This is the faith that drives my entire approach…Look at these designs. They are by Dufy…you will notice the colors, colors we could not reproduce using the traditional methods. We had to be very perseverant. It’s a long story…”
DECEMBER – New Year’s Eve menu design for the restaurant Manière, 65 rue Caulaincourt in Paris.
MAY 11 – Letter from Jean Dufy to William Haviland: “I’m enclosing two designs which are the lasts of the ‘Bestiaire’ (bestiary) series, and I hope you will like them. I’m adding an amusing little border in a ‘tortoise-shell’ pattern. The coloring of the finished design seem to me a bit dull, so I have done three other color schemes, of which I prefer the pink toned one. […] I think you have already received my two earlier missives, as follows: The bestiary series, with five designs:
4. Birds (last letter)
5. Fish (last letter)
6. Small flowers
8. Ears of wheat
9. Motif on a background…(illegible)
10. Tortoise-shell design (last letter)
11. The circus…”
AUGUST 6 – Letter from William Haviland: “The file containing all your correspondence has been destroyed. I was able to save the portfolio containing your designs * from the flames**. They are rather damaged but fortunately still usable. Looking through them, I am able to reconstruct your various letters. […] We have not yet been able to put these very successful designs into production, but we hope to be able to very soon…”
*The designs and watercolors, all projects by Jean Dufy for Porcelaine Théodore Haviland, have since disappeared from the archives.
**A serious fire, started by lighting, destroyed the major part of the Haviland factories in Limoges in June 1929.
OCTOBER 15-30 – Exhibit Jean Dufy, Galerie Bing & Cie., 20 bis rue La Boëtie, Paris.
OCTOBER 24 – Wall Street crash. “The Théodore Haviland company, which exports 70% of its production to the United States, was severely affected by the crisis” (Jean d’Albis, HAVILAND, Editions Dessain et Tolra, Paris, 1988, p.81).
Illustrates programs for La Société de Propagande Musicale Le Hâvre and Le courrier musical with drawings.
APRIL 15-MAY 5 – First exhibit in New York, Exhibition of Paintings and Watercolors by Jean Dufy, Balzac Galleries, 102 East 57th Street.
SEPTEMBER 8 - Death of his mother, Marie Dufy, at age eighty-one at her home 10 rue Maréchal Joffre in Le Havre.
NOVEMBER 20 – Paul Guillaume praises Jean Dufy’s paintings (letter from R. Goetz to Jean Dufy about a seascape).
Jean and Ismérie Dufy are still living at 4 rue Villeneuve in Garches (Seine-et-Oise near Paris).
NOVEMBER 1-DECEMBER 11 – Exhibits two paintings at the Salon d’Automne, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris: La moisson (collection of Dr. Viard) and Nature morte.
Lives at La Haye-Descartes* in the Indre-et-Loire area.
*Currently called Descartes.
MAY 3 – Letter from William Haviland: “My dear friend,
Just a quick word to tell you that I have just received in the mail your roll of vase* drawings, and I am delighted..."
*According to the archives, three vases were produced in 1934, “Oiseaux”, “Vestales” and “Les Chevaux”. We have a descriptive sheet for the latter with a photograph and the following description: “A anthracite-black vase in porcelain stoneware, height 25 cm. Incised design: three horses grazing at the foot of a tree, outlined in gold. The grass in the field, simulated with accents, and the leaves of the tree cover the background of the vase like a Japanese ‘mille fleurs’. The ring is emphasized with pink beige enamel. The same vase, in white porcelain, is outlined in red or blue and bears the signature of Jean Dufy.” Haviland owns one “Oiseaux” and a vase, “Les Chevaux”.
DECEMBER 29 – The artistic committee of the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres chose four designs by Jean Dufy for reproduction in “ceramic material” (project for a plate), at 150 francs for the first three and 200 francs for the fourth. The designs, executed in gouache and pencil on thick paper, show “boats” in three of them, and a circular flower design (archives of Manufacture nationale de Sèvres).
JANUARY 11 – Letter from Jean Dufy in response to a letter on December 29th and mistakenly dated 1934 from La Haye-Descartes: “I will have other designs to show you which I am currently finalizing (small vases with blue and white backgrounds), as well as the service whose templates I have brought with me. I will show you all these when I next go to Paris…”
MARCH-APRIL – Lives at Abilly, a few kilometers from La Haye-Descartes, where he often painted the Vienne area.
JUNE – An article entitled “Will the secret of Van Eyck revolutionize the painting?” by Philippe Diolé in Beaux-Arts, reveals Van Eyck’s* painting technique, rediscovered by Jacques Maroger, a restorer and technical consultant for the Louvre Museum.
In 1931, during a lecture to the Académie des Sciences entitled “Reconstruction of the pictorial technique of Jan Van Eyck”, J. Maroger explains that Jan Van Eyck had a choice between two techniques of opposite types: painting with a glue base, too siccative and too opaque, and paintings based on oil with varnishes that were not siccative enough”. The Flemish painter therefore combined the two processes. A mixture of an oil-based material and a gum-based solution of water produces a special result: the emulsion. The emulsion is the secret of Van Eyck.
Jean and Raoul Dufy both used this technique.
*Jean Van Eyck (Circa 1390-1441).
He writes in his notes: “Starting in 1936, I used emulsions made of linseed oil and rabbitskin glue. A chemist gave us formula for an emulsion that I have been using ever since. […] The emulsion is made through evaporation over a slow fire of the water contained in the mixture and gives a liquid paste that resembles mayonnaise. I combined this emulsion with color from tubes while preparing my palette. This gives a very tensile material, due to the following principle: the emulsion coats each colored pigment, and has the double advantage of protecting its neighbor, thus preventing any chemical reaction. Since the emulsion is very siccative, it dries very fast, which means the painter has to repaint the painting completely if he wants to change something.
This may seem a drawback, but actually, this is an advantage because it obliges the painter to sacrifice successful areas to redo them to fit in with the whole, a well-balanced painting being a finished painting. The finished work preserves the freshness and quality of a painting painted in a single session. Anything you’ve successfully painted once, you can paint again later.” In the margin, Jean Dufy adds that “this practice gives an enameled color with no dull areas that does not need to be varnished.”
FEBRUARY 1 – Request for registration on the electoral register of Abilly, his official residence since January 15, 1936. He cancels his registration at the Marie of the 18th arrondissement of Paris.
APRIL 7 – Three designs for the “Daurat plates” out of four were chosen by the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres: “Fleurs multicolores”, “Bordure Fleurs roses”, and “Epis, coqulicots, bleuets”.
MAY – Charles Malegarie, Director of C.P.D.E [Compagnie Parisienne de Distribution d’Electricité], awards the design of the electricity pavilion for the 1937 International Exposition to the architect Mallet-Stevens.
Raoul Dufy is asked to execute the decoration over an area of 600 square meters, with a free choice of subject. The only requirement was to celebrate Electricity. Jean Dufy, André Robert, his assistant, and Jacques Maroger all participate in the project. They began painting the actual work in January 1937, and were ready for inauguration day on May 24, 1937.
In his autobiographical notes, Jean wrote about La Fée Electricité: “In 1936, Raoul Dufy asked them to request my services. I have a commission, he said, for the 1937 International Exposition for the C.P.D.E. They have asked me to paint a huge mural, 60 meters long by 10 meters high, on the theme of Electricity. I can only do this with your help. I was flattered by his confidence and accepted.
My role in this business was: 1 To collect images about Electricity. I spent hours in many different libraries to find portraits of scientists as well as a few scenes representing scientific discoveries. I contacted a professor at the Sorbonne University who guided my choice of facts and the people who should be included in this grandiose fresco.
I drew portrait of Thalès de Milet, General Ferrié, and many others using engravings or photographs of these illustrious thinkers.
I found 919 scenes of experiments from many different periods – among others a memorable event at the Royal Academy of London during a lecture on the points principle by a correspondent of Benjamin Franklin, who had discovered the properties of objects […]. I also collected other similar scenes to create a dynamic effect throughout the composition.
As the scientists were from many different countries and periods, I looked for the clothes they probably wore. We brought in actors from the the “Comédie-Française” and I had them dressed by a costume man from the theater, who also came to pose in the Master’s studio. In a way, I was staging the show. With all these elements in hand, I worked on the sketches, looking for compositions that would connect the different scenes and create a movement from ancient times to the present…”
Jean Dufy was very understandably hurt and bitter when he read the various interviews with Raoul Dufy in the press about the La Fée Electricité. The very active role he played in developing and painting the mural was never mentioned. The two brothers, once so close, drew apart.
Last Letter from Jean Dufy (15 rue Hégesippe Moreau in Paris) to William Haviland preserved in the archives: “I’m sorry to have taken so much time to send you the sketches I promised you. I’ve put down on paper several ideas for different models as inspiration dictated, and I believe they are quite different from what I’ve done until now. I also made them somewhat bigger, as I have noticed that the scale of the designs is getting distinctly larger. In terms of color, you may have some difficulty in following the tones I’ve indicated.”
OCTOBER 22-NOVEMBER 26 – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy, Perls Galleries, 32 East 58th Street, New York.
Twelve lithographs by Jean Dufy illustrating the Fables Choisies by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian, published in 1938.
DECEMBER 30, 1938-JANUARY 31, 1939 - Exhibition of Modern Paintings, The Portland Art Museum. An exhibition with Chagall, Modigliani, Picasso, Derain. Jean Dufy exhibited three paintings, one of which is reproduce in the cover of the catalog.
Dufy is not sent to the front. He moves to Preuilly-sur-Claise. According to notes left by a friend, “their house, with an old staircase, was located 3 rue Berruère in the lower, more historical part of the town, against the château du Lion”.
MAY 25-JUNE15 – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy, Galerie A. Barreiro, 30 rue de Seine, Paris.
Woodcut by Jean Dufy in Imagiers de Preuilly-sur-Claise by Guy de la Mothe.
MARCH 9 – Letter from Raoul to Jean: “My Dear Jean,
I will not attempt to explain my lack of correspondence, I admit I’ve completely failed to write, and the same is true for you…”
Family and personal news follows.
MARCH 20 - Germaine Ducret, Galerie André, 3 rue des Saint-Pères in Paris, asks Jean Dufy to date several recently-sold gouaches.
OCTOBER 13-31 – Exhibit entitled Recent Landscapes by Seven French Painters, Georges de Braux, Inc., 1718 Locust Street, Philadelphia. Jean Dufy exhibited several paintings.
Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy Galerie André, 3 rue des Saint-Pères, Paris.
DECEMBER 8, 1947-JANUARY 2, 1948 -
Exhibit entitled Gouaches and Watercolors, Georges de Braux, Inc., Philadelphia.
MARCH – The Dufys are visited by Paul Bermont, owner of the Galerie Art et Tapis (formerly the Galerie Jos. Hessel) located 26 rue La Boëtie and 43 rue de Miromesnil, Paris.
APRIL 9-30 - Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy Galerie Jos. Hessel, 26 rue La Boëtie and 43 rue de Miromesnil, Paris. The exhibit with a preface by Marcel Aymé included about 150 older and recent pieces.
An exhibit was also held at the Galerie Drouand-David, 52 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
JUNE – Stay in Baux-de-Provence.
OCTOBER 15-NOVEMBER 15 - Exhibition of Paintings by Raoul and Jean Dufy at the Old Paris Gallery, 280 Dartmouth Street, Boston.
DECEMBER 24 – Purchase of an 18th century house located in La Boissière, a hamlet of Boussay about five kilometers from Preuilly-sur-Claise.
In his notes Jean writes: I could never have found anywhere better to work in peace. A spacious studio, with excellent northern light, surrounded by a garden with a view of the countryside…”
SPRING – L. Gaillet, former owner of the Galerie André located in the Rockefeller Center Building in New York, had kept a dozen gouaches for her personal collection. She asked the painter to give her two small panels and a canvas for old times’ sake.
MARCH 27 – Letter from Mrs. L. Gaillet: “I received the roll of gouaches. Thank you, they are very successful. By tomorrow they will be shown in the window side by side…”
MAY 10 – Mrs. L.Gaillet writes to Jean Dufy that she had sold a oil on canvas of Honfleur, and asks him for clowns. “I miss the ones I sold last year.”
SEPTEMBER 23 – Letter from Beno d’Incelli who requests paintings, “in a format of 12 to 15 as agreed, circus scenes, clowns, views of Paris and flowers using your latest technique which I like very much.”
NOVEMBER 3 – Georges de Braux prepares an exhibit, scheduled for the end of the year. Was it to be a one-man or group show? The catalogue has not been found so far. He writes: “I’m beginning to be seriously concerned about the fate of the gouaches you sent off Wednesday or Thursday October 27th. I don’t know on what to ship or plane they left on, but I have already received the photographs taken at Patachou last Thursday night during that very pleasant evening organized by Gegen (Gen Paul). I’m afraid that your work may have perished on the Air France plane that crashed into a mountain in the Azores with Marcel Cedan […]. This is very shocking loss for me with your Chicago exhibit coming up. The vertical painting of the Eiffel Tower was also expected to arrive here.”
His friendship with Jacques Chast, a civil servant at the Ministry of Agriculture and an enthusiastic collector of Jean Dufy’s work, grows stronger. The two men meet in Preuilly-sur-Claise and remain close friends for about 10 years.
JANUARY 19 – Beno d’Incelli asks for a number of gouaches “with magnificent color and full of poetry” for his personal collection.
MAY 13 – Letter from J. (Jeanne) Le Chapelin: “Mr. Mandel has been kind enough to give me your address, and I would like to know if you would be interested in accepting me as one of your galleries. I greatly appreciate your work, and often exhibit it in the gallery window. The gallery is extremely well located, and I would be delighted if you could send me a few gouaches of Paris…” The Galerie J. Le Chapelin was located 71 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris.
In a letter dated June 7th, J. Le Chapelin thanks Jean Dufy for accepting her offer and requests three gouaches of Paris.
JUNE 9 – Letter from the Galerie 102 in Paris, 102 rue Lepic, “Montmartre, yesterday and today” needs a poster the size of an ordinary sheet of drawing paper. The choice of subject matter is yours to make. […] This poster will be hung in an exclusive network of luxury establishments, such as the Tour d’Argent and Plazza restaurants…”
AUGUST 31 - J. Le Chapelin requests four large oils on canvas representing one view of Paris and three of the Bois de Boulogne.
NOVEMBER 1-30 – Exhibit entitled New Gouaches by Jean Dufy by Georges de Braux, Inc., Philadelphia.
NOVEMBER – Contract with the Pallas Gallery in London for reproduction rights to the gouache Bois de Boulogne for the price of 20,000 francs.
JANUARY 19 – Christian Gilbert Stiebel, owner of the Galerie Barreiro, requests paintings of “ships in the open sea and ships leaving the harbor, a few of each and in both mediums. Thank you in advance. Also an oil about hunting if this is not too much trouble”.
MARCH 16-APRIL 7 – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy, Galerie Barreiro Stiebel, 30 rue de Seine, Paris.
NOVEMBER - Exhibit, Niveau Gallery, 965 Madison Avenue, New York.
FEBRUARY 23 - J. Le Chapelin sends an S.O.S., as she has no more gouaches to sell.
MARCH 2-28 – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy, James Vigeveno Galleries, 160 Bronwood Avenue, Westwood Hills, Arizona.
JUNE 2 – La Pallas Gallery in London asks Jean Dufy for biographical noted to be able to promote the sales of a collotype of the gouache Bois de Boulogne.
Exhibit at the Van Diemen-Lillienfeld Galleries, New York.
MARCH 23 – Death of Raoul Dufy at Forcalquier. Jean, who could not go to the funeral, organized a Mass at the church in Boussay. In an undated letter to Mr. And Mrs. Chast, he wrote: “I made arrangements for an insert in the Nouvelle République, but it was so poorly placed that no one noticed it. But in spite of this I’ve had many visitors. L’abbé Perrot de Neuil, a good friend, celebrated the Mass, and we were able to pay our respects to my brother in a manner worthy of him”.
Exhibit, Perls Galleries, New York.
Trip to Stockholm.
JANUARY 20 – In a letter to Mr. And Mrs. Chast, Jean write: “I am preparing a trip to North Africa, as I’ve finished all my commissions and need to take in some new inspiration. I don’t yet know the departure date, but I’m waiting for an answer from the travel agency to see if I have a reservation. I plan to go from Paris to Marseille and the Algiers by boat and them Rabat – Fez – Casa – Marrakech, a real tourist trip…I have many friends in Casa and Marrakech, and I think I will have a very pleasant voyage…”
JANUARY 24 – A “pneumatique” (special letter sent by tube in Paris) addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Chast: “I’ve just returned from my tour of Italy – Naples, Rome, Florence, Venice. Magnificent voyage…”
OCTOBER - Trip to Greece.
OCTOBER - Exhibit at Van Diemen-Lillienfeld Galleries, New York.
DECEMBER 5-29 - Exhibit, Georges de Braux, Inc., Philadelphia.
MARCH-APRIL – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy, Huiles, Gouaches at the Galerie Barreiro Stiebel, 30 rue de Seine in Paris, organized by Stiebel, the new owner of the gallery.
Member of the Jury at the Festival du court métrage Henri Langlois in Tours.
OCTOBER 28 – Michel Couturier of the Galerie Europe in Brussels is expecting “the small canvases I commissioned”.
NOVEMBER 1 – Noël Gasquet, art dealer, offers to export Jean Dufy’s work to Latin America.
MAY – Visits Corsica and the towns of Bastia and Ajaccio.
AUGUST-SEPTEMBER – Trip to England and Ireland. Visits the Claude Monet in Edinburg (August 18-September 7).
Exhibit at the Niveau Gallery in New York.
Exhibit at the Dominion Gallery, 1438 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal.
NOVEMBER - Exhibit at the Galerie Paris Artistique, 17 rue de Maubeuge, Paris.
DECEMBER 3-14 - Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy at the Hammer Galleries, 51 East 57th Street, New York.
JANUARY - The Galerie L. Bourdon in Paris contacts Dufy.
END JANUARY-BEGINNING FEBRUARY - Stay in Marseille.
MARCH - Trip to Austria, Vienna.
JUNE-AUGUST – Trip to Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
OCTOBER 1-NOVEMBER 30 – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy at the Galerie Abels, Stadtwal-dgürtel 32, Cologne.
NOVEMBER 21-DECEMBER 6 – Trip to Spain, Madrid and Granada.
MAY - Trip to Spain.
JUNE– Trip to Portugal, Lisbon and Porto.
SEPTEMBER - Trip to Italy, Rome, Assisi, Arezzo, Sienna, and Pisa.
OCTOBER 17-28 – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy, Recent Paintings at the Hammer Galleries, 51East 57th Street, New York.
FEBRUARY 1-28 – Exhibit entitled Jean Dufy at the Galerie Paris Artistique, 17 rue de Maubeuge, Paris.
MAY 21-JUNE 23 – Exhibit entitled Paris by Jean Dufy, W. Findlay Gallery, 505
North Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
AUGUST 1-30 – Exhibit entitled Prints International at the Mayfair gallery, Greensboro.
A month's stay at Honfleur where he primarily painted harbor scenes.
MARCH 11 – Death of Ismérie Dufy at the Charlet clinique in Châtellerault.
MARCH 14 – The funeral was a small, intimate service held at the Boussay church. The congregation included several officials, including Mr. Thimonnier, conseiller général, and Count Amaury de Becdelièvre, the mayor of Boussay. Jean Dufy, in poor health, without a family, preferred to stay home, overwhelmed with grief. He did not go to his wife’s funeral.
CIRCA MARCH 20 – Jean Colin* writes: “With the death of his wife, life lost its meaning. The woman was such a dominant personality, and had such a strong hold on him, that he felt truly orphaned. I suggested he try to take up his brushes again. Look, he would say, I started a gouache, like when I was just starting out, with seashells on a beach, and I’m incapable of drawing the shapes…”
*Jean Colin met the Dufy during WWII at Preuilly-sur-Claise. He always remained a faithful friend.
MARCH 23 – Letter from Jean Dufy to a friend: “[…] As for my health, I am gaining strength slowly but surely. For the moment, I not yet been able to begin working again, except for small colored drawings of shells.* I hope to be able to go for a walk today, but the weather has turned after a sunny morning. It will have to wait for tomorrow…”
*During the 1950s, Jacqueline Kennedy, then a student in Paris, purchased a gouache by Jean Dufy of seashells on a beach. The painting was hung in a reception room in the White House.
MAY 12 – Jean Dufy dies at La Boissière.
MAY 28 – Funeral held at the Boussay church followed by a burial in the cemetery.
Fifty people follow the hearse, most of them people from the village, a few close friends, including a cabaret singer Jacques Grello, a few officials (the mayor of Preuilly-sur-Claise and Count Amaury de Becdelièvre, mayor of Boussay), and his notaire and doctor.