(1869 - 1952)
Louis Valtat was active/lived in France. Louis Valtat is known for portrait, figure, still life and landscape painting.
Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings
A leading founder of the Fauvist movement, Louis Valtat was an
independent and versatile painter. Fauvist principles required a
total liberation of local color in favor of palette of unmixed paint
used straight from the tube, often applied with firm, even violent
brushwork. Forms are simplified and flattened, giving precedence to a
patterned, decorative surface. Although Valtat had painted in
this manner for several years, it wasn't until his exhibition in the
1905 Salon d'Automne that the term "Fauves," meaning "wild beasts,"
came into use, coined by a prominent critic to describe many of the
artists exhibiting that year, including Matisse, Vlaminck, Derain,
Manguin, Dongen Friesz, Puy and Valtat.
Biography from Modern Art Dealers
He began his studies at
the Hoche secondary school in Versailles, where his parents were
living. When he was aged 17 in 1886 (the year when Vincent Van Gogh
arrived in Paris for the first time) Louis applied for admission to the
Ecole des Beaux Arts, where his teachers were to be Gustave Boulanger
and Jules Lefebvre, and later Benjamin Constant. Winner of the Jauvin
d'Attainville prize in 1890, he took a studio in the Rue de La Glacière
in Paris. 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 that was favourably
commented on by 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.
Around this time he began
to suffer from tuberculosis and he went down to Banyuls on the
Mediterranean coast, where George-Daniel de Monfreid introduced him to
Aristide Maillol. Together they made a number of trips to Llança and
Figueras in Spain.
In 1895, continuing his convalescence in Arcachon, Louis Valtat
painted numerous canvases in very violent tones that again attracted
the attention of Félix Fénéon. These paintings were the forerunners of
Fauvism, a movement that created a scandal 10 years later at the Salon
d'Automne of 1905. 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. He had in fact been spending autumn and winter
in the south since 1898 with his future wife Suzanne, whom he married
in 1900. They first went to Agay, a small fishing village close to
Saint Raphaël and which is the location of our painting, and then to
Anthéor, a few kilometres farther away. And it was also in 1900 that,
on the advice of Renoir, Ambroise Vollard made an agreement with
Valtat, buying practically all his work for the next ten years.
absence from Paris did not prevent him from attending the Libre
Esthétique exhibition in Brussels the same year, where he showed Le
jardin du Luxembourg and Le boulevard Saint Michel. In 1903 he
exhibited in Vienna at the 'Gebaüde der Secession', and in 1906 in
Dresden at the Kunst Salon Ersnt Arnold. Further afield, he also
exhibited in Berlin at the Berliner Secession, in Budapest, in Prague,
and in Moscow in 1908 at the Moskva Tretyakov Gallery. During their
stays at Anthéor, the Valtats often crossed the Estérel hills,
sometimes on bicycles, to visit Auguste Renoir, who had rented the
Maison de la Poste in Cagnes. On one such visit in 1903, Renoir painted
the Portrait de Suzanne Valtat, while Valtat made a number of pen and
ink studes for a Portrait de Renoir. The drawings were used as the
basis for a woodcut.
The distance from Anthéor to Saint Tropez
was about 40 kilometres, so that it was easy to make a day's visit to
Paul Signac in the Bollée, a little car that Valtat acquired from
Signac in exchange for his painting 'Le Cap Roux'. In the spring and
summer Louis Valtat went eagerly to Normandy, to get back to the
seaside and above all to paint, staying in Port en Bessin, Arromanches,
and later at Ouistreham In 1905 Valtat selected a place to stay during
his visits to Paris on the Butte Montmartre, first in Rue Girardon and
then Place Constantin Pecqueur, and finally settling in the Avenue de
Wagram, close to the Arc de Triomphe.
As he was often absent
from Paris, his dealer, Ambroise Vollard, had taken over responsibility
for sending in his entries for the Salons. Louis 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.
From 1914 there were no more winters in Anthéor and he came to miss the
pleasures of having a garden. Ten years later he bought a house in
Choisel, a little village in the Vallée de Chevreuse, where he spent
most of the year. His garden, and the flowers and fruit that he grew
there, became the principle sources of inspiration for his painting. It
was at Choisel that he enjoyed entertaining his friends Georges
d'Espagnat and Maximilien Luce. During one of his visits, Luce painted
the village church.
By now the recognition of his fellow artists
was assured and he was also appointed Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur
in 1927. After the exodus of 1940 and the Occupation years, Louis
Valtat hardly left his atelier on the Avenue de Wagram. He suffered
from a glaucoma that made it increasingly difficult for him to see and
paint, and his health began to fail. 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
The crisis came at the end of 1951, when Louis Valtat was moved to a clinic in Paris, where he died on 2 January 1952.
details of Valtat's life and work can be found in the 1977 book by Dr
Jean Valtat Louis Valtat, catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint,
1869-1952, Editions Ides et Calendes, 1977.
des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; Musée des
Beaux-Arts de Chambéry; Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid; Musée des
Beaux-Arts de Marseilles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The State
Hermitage Museum, Saint-Petersburg; Musée de l'Annonciade,
Saint-Tropez; Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art; Fondation Bemberg,
Toulouse; Musée des Augustins, Toulouse; Musée des Beaux-Arts de
Troyes; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
Louis Valtat was born in Dieppe on 8 August, 1869. He studied at
le Lycée Hoche in Versailles where his parents lived. In 1886,
when he was 17 years old, he applied for admission at the Ecole des
Beaux Arts and completed his training at the Académie Julian where he
made friends with Albert André and Pierre Bonnard.
Biography from Anderson Galleries, Inc.
In 1890, he
won the Jauvin d'Attainville prize; he then set up his workshop at rue
de La Glacière in Paris. In 1893, he took part in the Salon des
Artistes Indépendants for the first time. His paintings covered
one main theme: the life in the neighbouring streets such as Sur le boulevard,
which Félix Fénéon duly noted. By the end of 1894, he achieved a
scenery for the theater "l'Oeuvre" in collaboration with Toulouse
Toulouse Lautrec and with Albert André's help at Lugné Poë's
request. Simultaneously, his engravings and paintings were
exhibited at the Salon des Cent.
As he was suffering from
pulmonary consumption, Valtat often went to Banyuls for treatment where
he met George-Daniel de Monfreid, who introduced him to Aristide
Maillol. He went on several trips to Spain, either to Llança or
Figueras. In 1895, as he was still recovering from his illness in
Arcachon, Louis Valtat painted numerous pictures with striking colours;
these paintings were exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1896
where Félix Fénéon noticed them and mentioned them in la Revue
Blanche. These paintings introduced the Fauvist style, which was
thought of as just as outrageous then as ten years later at the Salon
d'Automne in 1905.
In March 1899, Paul Signac organized a joint
exhibition at la Galerie Durand Ruel where Louis Valtat presented
twenty paintings entitled Notations d'Agay, 1899. Since
the winter 1897-8, he used to spend the winter season in Agay, a small
fishing village of fishermen close to Saint Raphaël and, later on, in
Anthéor, a few kilometers away. He was accompanied by Suzanne
whom he married in 1900.
During the same year, thanks to
Renoir's friendly recommendation, Ambroise Vollard made an agreement
with Valtat, buying almost his whole production for the next 10 years.
When staying in Anthéor, Valtat often went across the Estérel,
sometimes on their bicycles, to visit Auguste Renoir who rented "la
Maison de la Poste" in Cagnes at that time. During one of these
visits in 1903, Renoir painted the Portrait de Suzanne while Valtat drew a few ink sketches of Renoir. Later on, he used these sketches for engraving on wood.
Paul Signac stayed in Saint Tropez which is 40 kilometers from Anthéor. Valtat had exchanged his painting Le Cap Roux
for Paul Signac's fuel car, "La Bollée". Thanks to this car, the
distance between the two places was easily covered during the day.
living far from Paris, Louis Valtat took part in the Brussels
exhibition "La Libre Esthétique" in 1900 where he presented Le jardin
du Luxembourg and Le boulevard Saint Michel. He was also present
in 1903 at the "Gebaüde der Secession" in Vienna, in 1906 at the Kunst
Salon Ersnt Arnold in Dresde, and at the Berline Secession in Berlin as
well as in Budapest, Praha, and in 1908 at the Moskva Tretyakov Galerie
The Russian collector, Ivan Morossov bought from Vollard several pictures painted by Valtat.
Vollard dispatched Valtat's paintings to the exhibitions which were
held in Paris. In 1905, as one of his paintings was reproduced in
the magazine L'Illustration next to those of Henri Manguin,
Henri Matisse, André Derain and Jean Puy, he got mixed up with the
"Fauvism" scandal at the Salon d'Automne.
In the Spring and
Summer time, Louis Valtat used to go to the seaside, particularly to
paint. He liked to go to Port en Bessin, Arromanches and, later
on, Ouistreham in Normandy.
Valtat with his wife would live in
his parents' house in Versailles when they were not in Anthéor or in
Normandy. However, in 1905, they moved to la Butte Montmartre, at
rue Girardon and place Constantin Pecqueur, respectively.
In 1914, Louis Valtat moved to l'avenue de Wagram, close to l'Arc de
Triomphe and to the Bois de Boulogne whose lakes very often appeared in
his work. In 1914, Louis Valtat stopped travelling to
Antheor. In 1924, after 10 years of being deprived the pleasure
of a garden, he bought a house in Choisel, a small village in the
Chevreuse valley. He spent the major part of the year in that
His garden as well as the flowers and fruits which he
grew, became his favorite theme for his paintings. In Choisel, Valtat
liked to host his friends, Georges d'Espagnat or Maximilien Luce who
painted the village church on a visit.
By that time, he had
received official recognition and was made chevalier of the Legion
d'Honneur in 1927; at the 1951 exhibition on the Fauvism, which took
place at the Modern Art National Museum in Paris, six of his paintings
were shown among which no. 116, entitled "Arbres". Since then,
this painting seems to have gone a strange way.
After the 1940
exodus and the following years' occupation, Louis Valtat had serious
problems with his eyes (glaucoma) and seldom left his workshop located
at l'avenue de Wagram, where he realized his last paintings dated 1948.
Louise Valtat was a French painter, printmaker and stage designer. He spent much of his youth in Versailles, moving in 1887 to Paris, where he studied under Gustave Moreau at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and under Jules Dupre at the Academie Julian. There he met Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard and Albert Andre.
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With a keen interest in both artistic precedents and contemporary trends, he absorbed in the mid-1890s the chief tenets of Impressionism, Van Gogh's work and Pointillism before slowly developing his own style. In 1895 he collaborated with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Andre on the set of a French play. Under Toulouse-Lautrec's influence, his own works darkened both in color and sentiment. However, by 1896 he painted contemporary French life with an overall sunnier, more optimistic air, as in Water Carriers at Arcachon, in which he referred to Van Gogh, as well as looking to Fauvism for his use of bold colors.
From 1899 to 1914, Valtat divided much of his time between Paris and a house he built in Antheor, near le Lavandou, but early on he also traveled and considerably broadened his contacts with other artists. In 1894 and early 1895, he spent time with Aristide Maillol in Banyuls and Collioure, at the point when Maillol abandoned a career in textiles for sculpture. He visited Auguste Renoir several times between 1900 and 1905 at Magagnosc, near Grasse. Their portraits of each other included a wood engraving of Renoir, and they collaborated on a sculpted bust of Cezanne. In 1902 in Venice, Valtat translated his direct observations of southern light into a striking group of broadly painted works. He visited Signac at St. Tropez in 1903 and 1904 and recorded North African street life in several oil sketches. He also explored Normandy in 1907.
As early as 1893 Valtat exhibited at the Salon des Independants, La Libre Esthetique in Brussels in 1900, and the ground breaking Salon d' Automne in 1903. Among the reproductions in Louis Vauxcelle's review of the Salon d' Automne of 1905, in which the term 'Fauve' was first used, was a loosely brushed marine scene by Valtat. Valtat, however, always remained detached and on the fringe of the Fauvist circle. His palette then was bright, but the distortions of color and line were not quite as bold or reduced as those achieved by Henri Matisse. (Excerpt from the Grove Dictionary of Art)
Valtat's painting, Portrait de Femme, is a beautiful example of Valtat's command of female portraiture. The woman in this piece is pictured in profile, casually resting in an armchair and gazing off to our left. S he appears informal yet refined as she sits for the artist. As per his signature technique, Valtat utilizes petal-like strokes of subtle color in this painting. His muted palette is complemented with touches of vibrant color, which keep the viewer's eye engaged. Like his other portraits of women, Portrait de Femme includes many softly curving lines; the enveloping armchair, her rounded flowing dress, and soft topknot of auburn hair all speak to the femininity of Valtat's subject.
His paintings can be found in Paris at the Musee d'Art Moderne, Musee du Petit Palais, and Musee des Arts Decoratif. Other museums include Musee Bernay, Le Havre, Helsinki, Nantes and Nimes
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