Raoul is the older brother. He left school at the age of fourteen to work in a coffee-importing company. In 1895, when he was 18, he developed an interest in art and started taking evening classes in art at Le Havre's École des Beaux-Arts.
In 1900, after a year of military service, Dufy won a scholarship to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he concentrated on improving his drawing skills. The impressionist landscape painters, such as Monet and Pissaro influenced Dufy profoundly. His first exhibition (at the Exhibition of French Artists) took place in 1901.
Henri Matisse's artwork which Dufy saw at the Salon des Indépendants in 1905, was a revelation to the young artist, and it directed his interests towards Fauvism. Les Fauves (the wild beasts) emphasized bright color and bold contours in their work. Dufy's painting reflected this aesthetic until about 1909, when contact with the work of Paul Cezanne led him to adopt a somewhat different technique. In 1920, Dufy developed his own distinctive approach.
His work was very beautiful and decorative which caused some critics to not take him seriously. His work has aged well and is popular today. It is light, loose and easy to look at but that doesn't make it less significant.