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originally studied agricultural engineering. During the Occupation, he
was pressed into war labour. He was sent to Germany with Alain
Robbe-Grillet and there they met Claude Ollier. In the winter of
1944–45 he went to the University of Heidelberg and studied Eugène
Delacroix and Stéphane Mallarmé. After the war he copied works of
Michelangelo and Tintoretto in the Louvre.
His first solo
exhibition was at the Galerie Maeght in 1948, followed by exhibitions
in the Jeanne Bucher gallery between 1951 and 1953. Motivated by these
successes he soon signed an exclusive contract with the art dealer
Pierre Loeb. He collaborated with many writers, including René de
Solier, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Georges Lambrichs, Paule Thévenin
and Alain Jouffroy. In the later fifties, he began to attract attention
outside France; in 1959, he participated in the second documenta
exhibition in Kassel.
From 1960 he turned from abstract to
figurative painting; initially self-portraits and mournful figures,
later scandalous nudes. In 1961 he opened a studio in an old mill on
the Aveyron River in Foissac, where he also lived. He took part in the
Venice Biennale in 1964. From this time he formed lasting friendships
with other writers of the literary avant-garde, such as Pierre Guyotat,
Denis Roche, Catherine Millet and Jacques Henric. Since the 1970s he
worked in photography as well as painting, and written several volumes
of artistic notes and memoirs.
La Belle Noiseuse, Jacques
Rivette's 1991 film about an eldely artist, was partly inspired by
Dufour, who was credited as "the hand of the artist" painting the
picture at the heart of the film. In 1995, Dufour's wife Martine died
of cancer. Dufour lives in Villeneuve and continues to work.
representational art has often erotic components. The models in his
paintings are often in the company of the painter. This visible
relationship with the model brings the viewer of his pictures into a
voyeur position. The blending of love and death has been a theme, as in
a large (2.76 × 5.05 m) 1975 canvas depicting the autopsied body of Red
Army Faction militant Holger Meins juxtaposed with Dufour's nude wife
Size of painting on canvas board 19" x 15.5" overall. Excellent condition.
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