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Major Mississippi Museum of Art Exhibition has a French Accent
Raoul Dufy, Bateaux pavoisés, 1946. oil on canvas. 19¾” x 24.

JACKSON, MS.- The Mississippi Museum of Art is further defining its role as both a conceptual arts venue and a key contributor to Mississippi’s economic development efforts with an astonishing exhibition of the varied and remarkable accomplishments of French master Raoul Dufy.

Visitors to Raoul Dufy: A Celebration of Beauty through July 5, 2009, will see the extraordinary influence of the creative spirit as approachable, accessible, and inspiring.

Much like the museum’s grand opening and inaugural exhibition last year of Between God and Man: Angels in Italian Art, the Dufy exhibition will appeal to the broader public and be esteemed within the art community.

“To be able to stage this kind of entertaining and enlightening exhibition was our vision as we created the new Mississippi Museum of Art,” said Betsy Bradley, Executive Director.

Approximately 65,000 visitors annually tour the museum’s highly contemporary facility in downtown Jackson.

“This show is bright, colorful, and employs a multitude of different mediums in its expression,” Bradley said. “Gaining an understanding and appreciation for Raoul Dufy will be a delightful experience for all.”

Mississippians and other visitors to Raoul Dufy: A Celebration of Beauty will be swept up in the artist’s profound and brilliant appreciation of the infinite richness of daily life. More than 100 paintings, watercolors, and drawings from European private collections communicate Dufy’s joie de vivre, also shared through his wealth of Art Deco textile designs. More than 100 original fabric projects from the archives of leading French silk manufacturer Bianchini-Ferier will be displayed.

Rendered by Dufy, these imaginative fabric designs were used by the leading dress designer of the day, Paul Poiret, to create dramatic capes, coats and dresses that galvanized the French fashion world of the early 20th century.
Original gowns using Dufy fabrics and designed by French couturiers such as Mongi Guibane and Christian LaCroix will be featured and include garments inspired by some of Poiret’s creations.

Organized by the Humanities Exchange in Montreal, Canada, and presented by the Mississippi Museum of Art as part of The Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin Memorial Exhibition Series, Raoul Dufy: A Celebration of Beauty accurately reflects how Dufy’s imagination, fantasy and mental energy could not be contained by paint and canvas.

His life’s work included remarkable achievements in both fine and applied art. During the years from roughly 1900 to his death in 1953, he created several thousand paintings, wood engravings, lithographs, etchings, watercolors and drawings, and illustrated some 50 literary works. He rendered more than 200 ceramic pieces, almost 50 tapestries and about 5000 fabric designs. His stage sets, murals and monumental decorations are still lauded among the most important of his time.

That his work continues to appeal to contemporary audiences is evidenced by the exhibition’s recent tour in Japan. There, Dufy was showcased in five museums with an average attendance of more than a thousand visitors a day.

Special events and activities with a French accent will enhance visitors’ Dufy experience. Teacher training and school partnerships will offer educational opportunities statewide.

“We look forward to welcoming all Mississippians and visitors from around the world as we stage this significant attraction,” said Bradley. “Raoul Dufy: A Celebration of Beauty gives us an opportunity to enjoy the full capabilities of the new Mississippi Museum of Art, share our state’s famous Southern hospitality, and applaud one of modern history’s most accomplished and enjoyable artists.”

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