Born in Le Havre, France, he studied at the Le Havre École des Beaux-Arts before moving to Paris where he attended the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. In 1905 he was greatly moved by Henri Matisse’s work at the Salon des Indépendants and this resulted in an interest in the work of the Fauvists, which lasted until around 1908 when he became influenced by the work of Paul Cézanne and began to create more structured compositions. His work for the decorative textile designer, Paul Poiret, was also to have an influence on his oil painting.
The work seen here is set in the Normandy resort town of Deauville. As a native of the port town of Le Havre, also in Normandy, the sea was a common motif in Dufy’s work. The movement of the waves is beautifully expressed by a series of black and white lines, the sea is filled with boats and yachts, while the figures of the sailors and people in holiday attire recreate the atmosphere of the regatta beautifully.
Dufy was contracted to the Bianchini-Férier Company to produce textile designs for them and some fabric and a dress, bearing the same design as this painting, remains in existence.