Research: Raoul Dufy, Gwen John and Edward Hopper

One of the exercises we will be doing soon is to produce a view through a window or door.  We are asked to compare the work of Raoul Dufy and Gwen John with regards this theme.     

I am completely entranced with Raoul Dufy’s work, it is so filled with light and dazzling colour!  He was obviously greatly influenced by the Impressionists, and even now, his work is so fresh and vibrant, filled with joy.  His mural ‘Electricity Fairy’ is one of the largest ever done by an artist, measuring a staggering 10 metres by 60 metres, I’d love to be able to look at that in person.  

Raoul Dufy ‘Electricity Fairy’ mural

Dufy painted many views looking out of windows – these are my favourites so far – they all sparkle with the carefree use of complimentary colours and such a light touch – no heavy applications of paint here, just clear transluscent colour:

Raoul Dufy ‘Interior with Open Windows’ 1928 (Image : Bridgeman Education)

Raoul Dufy ‘Open Window, Nice’ 1928 (Image : Bridgeman Education)
Raoul Dufy ‘The Round Table, Rue de Sequier’ 1909 (Image : Bridgeman Education)

In contrast, the work of Gwen John (Welsh born but lived in France most of her life) is rather sombre. I found the portraits she did of many female models quite depressing, as they all look so melancholy and sad.  However, there is one exquisite painting I found of her studio window, it is filled with airy light and quite magical.

Gwen John ‘A corner of the artist’s room, Paris’ c1907-1909 (Image: Bridgeman education)

It is also suggested that we look at the work of Edward Hopper.  I had intended, prior to seeing the course notes for part four, to do a post about Hopper’s painting output, which was prolific.  I have mixed feelings about his work and these were cemented when I happened across a YouTube video displaying hundreds of his paintings.  Miles and miles of buildings, homes, empty streets, all devoid of people.  It’s like looking at the world after a nuclear holocaust.   His painting are full of fantastic architecture, as well as wonderful use of colour and shadow but there is no soul.  The people in his paintings all seem dead or like mannequins in a shop window, they don’t breathe or interact with one another.  They have grim / bored expressions across their faces.  Seeing one or two Hopper paintings is special but viewing hundreds of them in quick succession as I did the other day, was not a pleasant experience at all.  I greatly admire his work and his style of painting but I just wish there was more humanity in it, more life.

Edward Hopper ‘Room in Brooklyn’ 1932 (Image: Bridgeman Education)
Edward Hopper ‘Morning Sun’ 1952 (Image: Bridgeman Education)

Bibliography  (horrible website!)  (source for Electricity Fairy image)

Edward Hopper

Youtube  video of 236 paintings;

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