Dufy, End of the Day at Le Havre

Raoul DUFY (1877-1953), End of the Day at Le Havre, 1901, oil on canvas, 99  x 135 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel — © ADAGP, Paris, 2014
Raoul DUFY (1877-1953), End of the Day at Le Havre, 1901, oil on canvas, 99  x 135 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel — © ADAGP, Paris, 2014
Since the Dufy bequest in 1963 of 70 of her husband's works, MuMa has gradually enriched its Dufy collection whenever the opportunity arises. Such is the case of this painting from his youth, which holds great significance as the first work the artist exhibited in a Parisian salon, the Salon des Artistes Français in 1901.

Dufy depicts the Quai Colbert in the harbour of Le Havre. Traditionally used for unloading coal from Wales, this section of the harbour was gradually modernized with the installation of new electric cranes in the early 20th century. This newly transformed industrial landscape is what Dufy put to paint.

The heaps of coal on the left conceal the sailboats and steamships moored in the Bassin Vauban, while the cranes in the distance are clearly outlined against the sky of a late winter afternoon. The buildings of the Saint-François district, overlooking the Bassin de la Barre, can be seen in the background to the right. The wide foreground is fully occupied by the muddy terrain of the quay, where small groups of dockers and other labourers, sometimes accompanied by women and children, hurry home from a day's work.
 
Its subject, with strong realist and social connotations, its size (which undoubtedly betrays the young painter's ambition to exhibit his work at the Salon) and its treatment make this an exceptional piece. Until recently still in the artist's family, the painting sheds fascinating light on Dufy's early career, illustrating the pivotal moment at the end of his artistic training—between his indebtedness to the legacy of Impressionism and his Fauve beginnings—when the artist fleetingly explored other avenues.

Works acquired in 2012 (4)

Vincent BARRÉ (1948), “Outres” 3-4, 1999, cast iron, 60 x 240 x 80 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Trine SØNDERGAARD (1972), Interior # 10, 2011, colour photograph, C-print, 60 x 60 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Trine Søndergaard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2014
Raoul DUFY (1877-1953), End of the Day at Le Havre, 1901, oil on canvas, 99  x 135 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel — © ADAGP, Paris, 2014
Dana LEVY, Dead World Order, 2012, photogram (video). © MuMa Le Havre / Dana Levy