Description: Louis VALTAT 1869 – 1952
Spring in Choisel, the Orchards – Circa 1926
Oil on canvas
Stamp initials lower right “LV”
h: 10.5″ w: 13.50″
Provenance:Versailles, Me Blache
Bibliography: This work will be included in the Catalog of the work of Louis Valtat currently being prepared by the Association Les Amis de Louis Valtat.
Comment: A notice of inclusion of the Friends of Louis Valtat Association will be given to the purchaser.
Louis Valtat (8 August 1869 – 2 January 1952) was a French painter and printmaker associated with the Fauves (“the wild beasts”, so named for their wild use of color), who first exhibited together in 1905 at the Salon d’Automne. He is noted as a key figure in the stylistic transition in painting from Monet to Matisse.
At age 17, deciding to pursue an artistic career, Valtat applied to the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris. He was accepted, and in 1887 Valtat moved to Paris to enroll at the Ecole, where he studied with the well-known academic artists Gustave Boulanger (1824–1888), Jules Lefebvre (1836–1911), and later with Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845–1902).
Valtat subsequently studied at the Académie Julian (Julian Academy) under Jules Dupré (1811–1889), a landscape painter of the Barbizon school. Among his fellow students were Albert André (1869–1954), who became a close friend, as well as Maurice Denis (1870–1943), Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947), and Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940). These last three, calling themselves “Nabis” (after the Hebrew word meaning prophets), were influenced by Paul Gauguin’s (1848–1903) Synthetist method of painting based on the use of simple forms, pure colors, and large patterns. While Valtat remained detached from that movement, he learned from them.
In 1890, upon winning the Jauvin d’Attainville prize, Valtat established his own studio at rue La Glaciere in Paris. He made his debut in 1893 at the Salon of Independent Artists, displaying several paintings depicting street scenes of the neighborhood surrounding his art studio. One of those paintings, titled Sur Le Boulevard (On The Boulevard, 1893) was noted by the art critic Félix Fénéon. During this early period in his career, Valtat used the spontaneous light touches of Impressionism (although with bordered objects) and the colorful dots found in Pointillism. Two examples representing Valtat’s work during this period include Péniches (Barges, 1892) and the Pommiers (The Apple Trees, 1894). As noted by Cogniat, Péniches has the impressionistic rendering of the mobile reflections of rippling water while Pommiers is “alive with the dazzling brilliance of sunlit reds and yellows intensified by the stippled strokes of green”.
Valtat exhibited widely during his career. In 1894, he collaborated with both Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Albert André in creating the decor for the Paris theater “L’Œuvre” at the request of Lugné Poë.
Valtat made several portrait drawings of Renoir on which he based a subsequent woodcut, and the two artists collaborated on a sculpture of Cézanne. During his time spent near the Mediterranean, Valtat intensified his use of color and began to express his Fauvist tendencies, particularly in painting seascapes.
After 1914 he worked in Paris and in areas near Rouen and Versailles. The subjects of his paintings included flowers, landscapes, and scenes of contemporary life, and he produced many prints.