DUFRESNE Charles
French painter born at Millemont (Seine-et-Oise) November 23, 1876, died at La Seyne (Var) in August 1938. At an early age he took courses at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and worked at the same time as an agent at Alexandre Char pentier's. His first important canvases date from 1908, after a long stay in Italy. In 1910 he won the Prix de l'Afrique du Nord, and spent two years at the Villa Abd el Tif in Algiers. This contact with an Oriental civilization, even though a declining one, had a decisive influence on the evolution of his art. Dufresne had a gifted imagination. Like Delacroix, for whom he had the greatest admiration, he found his purity of form and violence of colour beneath Mediterranean skies. Later, in his studio crammed with curios brought back from his travels, he reconstructed an exotic and fabulous world of vivid intensity. He was not interested in historical reconstructions. On the contrary, he wanted to give back to the modern world the colour of life, and integrate this colour in large, sweeping rhythms, thus reacting in his own way against the fragmentation of themes and the exaltation of the object. He also had the courage to attempt religious themes and, among the painters of his generation, seems to have been the one most capable of giving the subject its full value. That is why he was able to exercise such great influence over the young painters whom he taught for several years at the Scandinavian Academy. Together with a few friends, he founded the Salon des Tuileries in 1923; in 1924 he decorated with tapestries a collection of furniture by the decorators Sue and Mare, which was one of the attractions of the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs of 1925. He executed décors for the Paris Opera (Antar), and sketches for tapestries (La Plage ou Plaisirs de l'Eté). Finally, in 1937, he painted two panels (Le Théâtre de Molière) for the Chaillot Theatre in Paris, and some vast murals for the great amphitheatre of the École de Pharmacic, which he completed only a few days before his death. In these he showed his taste for broad swaths of colour, sweeping movements of figures, a measured lyricism full of passion, and an understanding of texture, which is to be found even in the smallest of his rough sketches.
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