Charming PAUL DUFAU oak framed mixed media seated young girl. 1960's c1965

Charming PAUL DUFAU oak framed mixed media seated young girl. 1960's c1965
Charming PAUL DUFAU oak framed mixed media seated young girl. 1960's c1965
Charming PAUL DUFAU oak framed mixed media seated young girl. 1960's c1965

Charming PAUL DUFAU oak framed mixed media seated young girl. 1960's c1965
Charming exploratory avant-garde work of a seated girl by the painter-shepherd that was Paul Dufau! And very resonant of the 1960's when it was painted, with its forward thinking exploration and experimentation in technique and bold focus on texture.

A simple subject but as viewed from, and as reflective of, the very different perspectives of the fast changing modern world that was still unfolding after the war. Mixed media on paper or board laid to wooden panel. Very nicely framed in lovely original oak frame. With the whole measuring 33.8 x 27.2 cm (about 13 1/4 x 10 3/4 inches). And also artist inscribed, verso, with his name and address.

And this work is in excellent condition! I would note, however, that the signature, although definitely there, is very unclear. Without knowing how he signed to help recognition of the form, it wouldn't necessarily even be recognised as being a signature. Fortunately, however, Paul Dufau also helpfully inscribed the back with his name and address as visible in the photos.

Some other works by the artist seen have labels from the hugely prestigious Grosvenor Gallery of Mayfair, so this may well have the same provenance. Those London exhibitions were mainly what brought his works to this country. But his two London exhibitions were followed by French ones. So although his work being in this country would rather suggest association with his London exhibitions, that isn't necessarily a certainty. He did apparently have two very different signatures, with the clearer one possibly more usually related to the London exhibits.

The multi-talented Paul Dufau, as originally Joseph Paul Duffau, was in Paris for the roaring 20's and quickly became known not just as a painter, but as a fashion designer, caricaturist, engraver and humorous illustrator, with one of his specialities being images of fashion leading young Parisiennes. The seemingly sometimes frivolous, but very fashionable, and newly rather better empowered girls and young women, the French equivalent of the Flapper girls, were icons of the roaring 20's throughout the Western world. With those images being published in the popular magazines of the day. And there are lots of pictures of those images from that period to be found online. He was a member of the Salon des Humoristes and also exhibited paintings with them. He did still exhibit in Paris, from Monflanquin, even during the war, with some very favourable reviews. And the journalist Max Favalelli said of him that "there is no more charming illustrator who has been able to translate the chic of these Parisiennes, flexible as lianas (a kind of vine)".

After the war, Dufau remained in his converted barn studio in Monflanquin, from where he still did illustrations for books but where he turned towards the distinctive more progressive and expressionist painting of his later years, very often with the inventive and bold focus on the textural qualities of the work, in some cases almost verging on sculptural. The following is adapted from the biography by Hervé Laurent, as associated with the Monflanquin 2018 retrospective of their local famous artist. Born on February 21 1898 in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Paul Dufau was placed at the age of 8 to work with his aunt and uncle on the farm he would later inherit near Monflanquin, in a place called "Cat du Mayne". In the evening, by the light of his kerosene lamp, he would draw. And he went on drawing for the rest of his life.

At the age of 22, having been noticed for his artistic talents by Georges Leygues, a native of Villeneuve who had become Minister of the Third Republic, he moved to Paris, where the carefree life and easy encounters strongly influenced his work. Women: Beautiful, enticing, and sometimes bare, were a particular inspiration. Noted for his eye for elegant design, he produced illustrations for light magazines such as "PARIS-PLAISIRS" or "LE SOURIRE".

And he rubbed shoulders with famous people, Michel Simon, Van Dongen, Sacha Guitry and René Bazin etc. He was notably the next door neighbour of George Simenon, and illustrated the erotic tales that Simenon was writing at that time. He even produced two caricatures of Maigret's creator with Joséphine Baker, with whom Simenon was then having an affair. Paul Dufau would continue as an illustrator and humorist until 1939, working for other magazines (Le Rire, Séduction, Ici Paris, Mon Paris) and for Éditions Hachette and Nelson in children's literature. Hosted near Montmartre, they also published postcards of monuments (Le Sacré Cour, Place du Tertre, small streets decorated with small flower vendors, the Arc de Triomphe) and pictures of such as horse-drawn carriages.

He then became the painter-shepherd, raising sheep, goats, horses and cultivating his fields, while still also producing sketches for the magazines "Vogue" and "Le Petit Echo de la Mode" etc. And his talents do not go unnoticed in Lot-et-Garonne either. He did lots of local jobs too, illustrating programs, festive menus and collections of poetry etc (by Jacques Raphaël Leygues, Francis Jammes and Sabine Sicaud).

He also worked with the local Villeneuve printer, Yves Filhol, to produce the edition of the works rewarded at the Agenais competition of Jasmin d'Argent. As time passed, Dufau was highly acclaimed for the quality of his sheep breeding, but he still drew and painted as well in his converted barn studio. He also started experimenting with the sculptural work. And in 1963 he had dinner with.

An American neighbour who lived in a mill near his farm. Hélène Anavi was a great collector of contemporary art, and a friend of Balthus, and she then visited his studio in the company of Fleur Cowles, the editor of the English magazine "Queen". Captivated by what they discovered there, they pushed him to exhibit his works. Then it was the Côte-d'Azur, Nice and Cannes...

But Paul Dufau, with advancing age, was no longer as attracted to the lights of the city as he was when he was 22. At "Cat du Mayne", he still had his sheep, and his sight was also then starting to decline.

He didn't continue to exhibit, and by the end of the 1970s, he was practically blind. Paul Dufau, the painter-shepherd, left his peaceful valley on October 2, 1982 at the age of eighty-four.

Charming PAUL DUFAU oak framed mixed media seated young girl. 1960's c1965

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