Artist biographies

Louis Valtat

Louis Valtat (1869-1952) started his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the age of seventeen and completed his training at the Académie Julian. There he met Maurice Denis and other painters from the group known as the Nabis (‘the prophets’).

In 1890 Valtat moved into his own studio on rue de la Glacière. Most of his paintings from this period depict the surrounding streets. Initially Valtat’s style was influenced by the Impressionists and later by the Nabis. Vincent van Gogh’s use of bright colours and powerful brushstrokes was also a source of inspiration. From about 1895 he was already painting landscapes, flower still-lifes and coastal views in bright, expressive colours; these early works make him one of the forerunners of Fauvism. His expressive painting Marine was one of the most controversial submissions to the notorious Salon d’Automne of 1905. Soon afterwards, however, Valtat moderated his use of colour and produced clearer, more stylised work. After 1940 he chiefly produced flower paintings in which he experimented with form and colour. He died in 1952, the year in which the Salon d’Automne devoted a retrospective to his work.

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