Against The Odds ~ The Wenlock Edge Sky Painter Steals Raoul Dufy’s Paint Box


I was in primary school when I fell in love with Raoul Dufy. In those days there was a state schools’ travelling art scheme, and at regular intervals our classrooms would receive a new reproduction of some striking painting. The said artist would then feature in a piece of project work: we would learn something of their life, and diligently copy or create our own versions of the picture.

Vincent Van Gogh featured often, and for a long time I was overly fascinated with the man, the loss of his reason and his ear, and was also visually transfixed by his chair.

But it was one of Raoul Dufy’s many images of La Promenade Des Anglais in Nice that captured my imagination. As I painstakingly copied the never-before-experienced palm trees, the balustrade, the blue, blue sea beyond, I became aware of quite new sensations: of something excitingly foreign, but above all, and I could not have put this in words at the time, of a sense of unfettered joi de vivre, something I had never felt before, since it was definitely never a sensation to be experienced in my home-life. And so when I see this sky, I have that same sense of the joyous liberation of the spirit, and think that this is possibly all I need to know about the universe. It simply IS. And I am glad to be here.

Dufy Le Casino de Nice

Daily Post  Against the Odds

31 thoughts on “Against The Odds ~ The Wenlock Edge Sky Painter Steals Raoul Dufy’s Paint Box

  1. I wish I’d met Dufy as you did: his paintings really open a window onto something “excitingly foreign” What a good rap for copying paintings too – to feel the landscape as you try to paint it.

  2. joi de vivre is not to be sniffed at. Your primary school art class was much better than mine – the only paintings I remember ever studying in school (grammar) was in French lessons, when we would be shown a painting and asked to write a story about what we saw. Your sky painter excelled itself on this day.

  3. Heartwarming and inspiring respone to the challenge, Tish. I wish I’d memories like this from my school. Thanks for introducing Raoul Duf and his marvollous work to us.

    1. My pleasure, Dina. I know in serious art circles Dufy isn’t all that highly regarded, but who cares? When you walk around Nice, you find the city council has installed reproductions of his work at the sites where he would have stood to sketch the particular scenes. Bringing art to the people. Brilliant!

  4. Here you are again, with a wonderfully personal, insightful post! You ran away to find colour and ‘joie de vivre’ in Africa? 🙂 🙂 It’s a delightful painting (and sky 🙂 )

  5. I’ve always envied those who have an innate joie de vivre. For those of us who have to work at it, the painting is a helpful nudge.

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