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Home > Paintings > Louis Valtat (1869-1952) - Banyuls Harbor

Louis Valtat (1869-1952)

Banyuls Harbor

French School, oil on canvas signed bottom right

Dimensions : H. 15 x W. 21.6 inches

Louis Valtat is born in 1869 in Dieppe (Normandy, France) into a wealthy family of ship owners.

He was a French painter associated with the Fauves. Valtat is considered as one of the leaders and founders of the Fauvist movement. He was involved with the most influential group of artists, such as Auguste Renoir, Paul Signac, Georges d’Espagnat and Maximilien Luce.

He spent many years of his childhood in Versailles where he attended secondary school.

Encouraged by his father who was very interested in painters of landscapes, Valtat became interested in art and at 17, he decided to take on an artistic career.

In 1887, Louis Valtat moved to Paris and started his training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Paris. He studied with the welle-known academic artists : Gustave Boulanger (1824-1888), Jules Lefèvre (1836-1911) and later with Benjamin Constant (1845-1902).

Then, after the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he studied at the Académie Julian (Julian Academy) under Jules Dupré (1811-1889), a landscape painter of the Barbizon school.

While Valtat remained detached from the Nabis movement, he learned from them, the Gauguin method of painting which would influence his later works.

In 1890, upon winning the Jauvin d’Attainville prize, Valtat established his own studio at rue La Glacière in Paris. The artist made his debut, in 1893, at the Salon des Indépendants (Salon of Independant Artists) displaying several paintings depicting street scenes.

During this early period in his career, he used the spontaneous light touchesof Impressionism and the colourful points found in Pointillism.

In 1894, Valtat collaborated with both Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Albert André in creating the décor for the Paris theater L’OEuvre at the request of Lugné Poe.

The artist suffered from tuberculosis, so he spent many autumn/winter seasons along the Mediterranean coast in Banyuls, Antheor and Saint-Tropez.

Often, Louis Valtat and his family would visit Paul Signac in Bollée and Auguste Renoir at the Maison de la Poste in Cagnes. During these times along the Mediterranean, use of color became a major concern to him and he began to express his fauvist tendencies, especially in seascape paintings.

This work is recorded in the archives of "L'Association Les Amis de Louis Valtat".

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, Museum of Modern Art
Saint Petersburg, Hermitage
Brussels, Musée Royal
Bordeaux, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Paris, Petit Palais
Paris, Musée d'Orsay

E. Bénézit, Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs, Tome 14, pages 30-31.