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Dufy, well known for his landscapes and animated crowd scenes, was commissioned in 1930 to paint this equestrian portrait of Mr and Mrs Kessler and their five daughters. He stayed briefly with the family at their country home in England, and made several preliminary studies, two of which are also owned by the Tate Gallery. This is the second of two versions of the finished work (the first was not entirely to the Kesslers' liking). It shows the artist's characteristic love of high-keyed colour and his use of a free-floating, almost hieroglyphic, line, inspired by Persian ornament.

August 2004