Louis Valtat (1869-1952)


As a teenager, Louis Valtat took to an artistic career and never looked back. Studying at the Lycée Hoche in Versailles near his family home, he gained admission to the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1886, and won his first award, the Jauvin d'Attainville prize in 1890. During these years and beyond, Valtat would make friendships and professional acquaintances of many of the great contemporaries of the French art world that would last his lifetime, among them Albert André, Pierre Bonnard and Toulouse Lautrec.

From the beginning, Valtat's works were noted for his brilliant use of coloration, and strong interpretation of shapes and boundaries, leading many to consider his works the precursor to 1905's "Wild Beasts" of Fauvism. His first participation in the Salon des Artistes Independants in 1893 would feature scenes of street life near the Academy to great acclaim. He began traveling, and grew an affection for the villages and seas of coastal France. He exhibited 20 works at Galarie Durand Ruel in tandem with Paul Signac that featured the fishing village Agay.

As his acclaim grew, he received a significant patronage of Ambroise Vollard, at the recommendation of Pierre August Renoir, who would paint a portrait of Valtat's wife Suzanne in 1903 while Valtat sketched the artist. With Vollard's assistance, Valtat would broaden his exhibitions into Paris, Luxembourg, Vienna. Dresden, Berlin, Budapest and Moscow. He would later settle in Choisel, and was made a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in 1927.

The Legacy of Louis Valtat, well established with his significant contributions of art to the world and numerous exhibitions, is further enhanced by the 'Friends of Louis Valtat', an association established by his grandson, Loius-André Valtat.

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