LOUIS VALTATFrench 1869 - 1952

Provenance: Galerie Jean-Claude Bellier, Paris; Sale: Laurin, Guilloux, Buffetaud et Tailleur, Paris, 17th April 1991, lot 87; Private collection, Paris

Exhibited: Palazzo Forti, Verona, "Da Van Gogh a Schiele: L'Europa espressionata 1880-1918", July - October 1989, p.113, illustrated in colour

LOUIS VALTATFrench 1869 - 1952

Born in Dieppe in 1869 Louis Valtat was to become one of the pre-eminent painters of the Post-Impressionist period. His style was of the expressive, Van Gogh-influenced variety of Post-Impressionism, as opposed to the more decorative style of Bonnard and Matisse. His early work is renowned for its vivid colours and expressive use of thick paint. His later work became rather more stylised and while he still used bright colours and impasto there is less expressive brushwork and a greater reliance on design and outline.

Aged 17 in 1886 Louis applied for admission to the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where his illustrious teachers were to be Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre, and later Benjamin Constant. The first paintings he entered for the Salon des Artistes Indépendants in 1893 were scenes of the daily life in the surrounding streets including Sur le Boulevard (a canvas positively noted by the art critic and writer Félix Fénéon). At the end of 1894, in collaboration with Henri de Toulouse Lautrec and aided by Albert André, he created the décor for the theatre L’Oeuvre at the request of Lugné Poë. His engravings and paintings were hung at the exhibition of the Salon des Cent.

A group exhibition was organised by Paul Signac at the famous Durand Ruel Gallery in March 1899, where Valtat exhibited twenty canvases, fifteen of which were shown under the heading Notations d’Agay, 1899. In 1900, on the advice of Renoir, Ambroise Vollard made an agreement with Valtat, buying practically all his work for the next ten years. As Valtat was often absent from Paris, Vollard had taken over responsibility for sending in his entries for the Salons.

Valtat became involved in the uproar over “Fauvisme” at the 1905 Salon d’Automne because one of his canvases was reproduced in the magazine “L’Illustration” next to paintings by Henri Manguin, Henri Matisse, André Derain and Jean Puy. By now the recognition of his fellow artists was assured and he was also appointed Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in 1927. At his last public appearance, for the Fauvism exhibition held in the summer of 1951 at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, he attended the exhibition of six of his paintings.