After studying in Le Havre and Paris, he painted in a late impressionist manner until his meeting with Matisse in 1905. Dufy was strongly influenced by Matisse's painting Luxe, calme et volupté, which taught him the free use of pure flat colour to heighten effect, and in the same year he adopted the style of the fauves (see Derain, André;). For a short period from 1908 Dufy came under the influence of Braque and the paintings of Cézanne. As a result his palette was temporarily subdued and he turned his attention to composition and structure.
His friendship with fashion designer Paul Poiret from 1910 stimulated an interest in textile design, and he became an influential figure in the fashion world. He did numerous woodcuts, lithographs, and tapestries during this period and in the 1920s developed the personal style of painting for which he is best known – such gay and pleasant scenes as racetracks and seascapes with boats. They are roughly divided into flat areas of bright colour, over which the outlines are sketched. He also carried out numerous public commissions at this time. The final development in Dufy's style occurred around 1947, when his paintings became almost monochromatic, as in The Red Violin (1948) and Homage to Mozart (1952).