Roses et Anemones
Marcel Dyf’s family lived in Paris, but he spent his childhood holidays in Normandy at Ault, Deauville, and Trouville. The artistic climate to which he was exposed in Paris and in Normandy was crucial during his youth, as innovative ideas and new thinking, born of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, formed ever widening circles of influence in Europe. Swept up in the atmosphere, Dyf decided in his early twenties to give up his career in engineering and become an artist. He moved to Arles in 1922 to pursue his calling and he kept a studio there until 1942. He had little formal artistic training but owed much of his inspiration to the great masters of the past such as Rembrandt, whom he particularly admired, Vermeer and Tiepolo. In Provence, challenged by a new range of colours and light, by new landscapes and images and under the same intense sky that lent its brilliance to Van Gogh’s art, Dyf graduated from painter to artist.

In 1935 Dyf took on Maximilien Luce’s old studio in the Avenue du Maine on the left bank. Paris hummed with creative vitality in the 1930s and Dyf was both participant and recipient in the atmosphere. Paris was shattered by the invasion of 1940. Like many others, Dyf left the city and returned to Arles, but he quickly had to abandon his home in the south and he took to the Maquis, entering the Résistance in Corrèze and the Dordogne. After the Liberation he returned to Arles to find the studio reduced to rubble in the fighting. He retreated, heavy-hearted, to Paris but the pull of the Midi was deep-rooted, so in time he returned and made a new base in Saint Paul-de-Vence. Thereafter he divided his time between Paris and the south. His pictures began to sell through galleries in Cannes, Nice, Marseille and Strasbourg. In Paris he exhibited and sold his paintings through the Salon d’Automne, the Salon des Tuileries and the Salon des Artistes Français.

In the summer of 1954, Dyf met Claudine Godat. Aged 19, she was thirty-six years younger than Dyf and with her long fair hair, clear skin, vivacity and patience, she was what the artist felt to be his perfect model. It was simply love at first sight. There was an instant rapport between them and her arrival in his life acted as a catalyst, bringing Dyf’s art forward to the threshold of its most mature phase. In 1956, they married and bought a 16th century hunting lodge at Bois d’Arcy, near Versailles. This became their main home, but each winter they returned to Provence on painting trips, The olive trees, the cane windbreaks and the grey-white crags of the Alpilles provided countless motifs for Dyf’s paintings of Provence, and his artistic and emotional attachment to the area endured to the end of his life. In 1960, at Claudine’s insistence, they first visited Brittany. They explored widely and finally came upon the Golfe du Morbihan. Dyf was enchanted with this remote, beautiful region. He immediately saw the potential for new subjects, in the still waters of the huge lagoon surrounded by rolling fields of wheat and tiny clusters of slate-roofed cottages, and he knew he must return to paint there.

To watch Dyf paint was entrancing. Even as an old man, he would stand rather than sit before the easel, working with extraordinary vigour and intense concentration. His palette was a rainbow of fresh colours and his hand continually darted back and forth from the canvas. At intervals he would step back or consider briefly another picture before returning to the easel, his eye refreshed. Usually he sketched straight onto the canvas, which he set up on his travelling easel. He would work on a subject for two or three hours and return the next day, in search of the same light on the landscape.
Excellent.
Dimensions
Height 21.50 inch (54.61 cm)
Width 18.00 inch (45.72 cm)
Medium
Oil on Canvas.
Signed/Inscribed
Signed Lower Right.
Callaghans of Shrewsbury

Callaghans of Shrewsbury
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Shropshire
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