Raoul Dufy

The Wheatfield


Not on display

Raoul Dufy 1877–1953
Original title
Le Champ de blé
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1300 × 1620 mm
frame: 1501 × 1822 × 105 mm
Bequeathed by Mrs A.F. Kessler 1983

Display caption

In this Normandy scene the fields are golden with wheat, the sky intensely blue. At a time when France was industrialising, and the urban population was about to outstrip the rural, the warmth of this view of the agricultural cycle would have been reassuringly nostalgic. Bringing in the harvest with horses hardly differed from the practices of the nineteenth century. Dufy's heightened use of colour and energetic brushstrokes also hark back, recalling Van Gogh's paintings of fifty years earlier.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

T03564 The Harvest 1929

Oil on canvas 51 3/16 × 63 3/4 (1300 × 1620)
Inscribed ‘Raoul Dufy’ b.centre and again ‘Raoul Dufy’ b.r.
Bequeathed by Mrs A.F. Kessler 1983
Prov: Bernheim-Jeune, Paris; Marcel Bénard; Bénard sale, Drouot, Paris, 23–24 February 1931, lot 9, repr. as ‘La Moisson’; bt Marcel Kapferer, 61,000 frs; Reid and Lefevre; Mrs Kessler
Exh: Fransche Schilderkunst uit de Twintigste Eeuw: Ecole de Paris, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, April–May 1932 (76, as ‘De Oogst’ 1929); Oeuvres Récentes de Raoul Dufy, Galerie Max Kaganovitch, Paris, June 1936 (3, as ‘Le Champ de Blé’ 1928); Oil Paintings and Watercolours ‘The Châteaux of the Loire’ by Raoul Dufy, Lefevre Gallery, May 1938 (6); French Paintings from the Kessler Collection, York Art Gallery, May 1948 (3); The Kessler Collection Wildenstein Gallery. October–November 1948 (8); Raoul Dufy, Tate Gallery, January–February 1954 (89); Nineteenth and Twentieth Century French Paintings from English Private Collections, Marlborough Fine Art, June–July 1965 (15, repr.); The Kessler Bequest, Tate Gallery, February–April 1984 (not numbered, repr. in col.)
Lit: Maurice Laffaille, Raoul Dufy: Catalogue Raisonné de l'Oeuvre Peint, Paris, 1976, 111, no.1022, p.76, repr. as ‘Champ de Blé’ 1930. Also repr: Marcelle Berr de Turique, Raoul Dufy, Paris, 1930, p.186 as ‘La Moisson’ 1929; Beaux-Arts, VIII, March 1931, p.9; Maximilien Gauthier, Raoul Dufy, Paris, 1949, pl.XIV; Marcel Brion, Raoul Dufy: Paintings and Watercolours, 1959, pl.49, as ‘The Harvest’ 1930

This picture, which is widely regarded as one of Dufy's finest works, is one of nineteen oils of harvest scenes in Normandy painted at intervals over a period of some years. One of the others, made several years later, appears to show the same fields seen from a slightly different position and is known as ‘Cornfield at Couliboeuf’ (Laffaille 1024). Couliboeuf is a village to the east of Falaise. At least four of the other harvest scenes also appear to have been painted in this same area (Laffaille 1021, 1022 bis, 1023 and 1025).

Although usually known in recent years as ‘Champ de Blé’ (Cornfield), the original title of this work was ‘La Moisson’ (The Harvest).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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