Louis Valtat (1869-1952) Part I

Louis Valtat

Louis Valtat

Louis Valtat 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 famous as a key figure in the stylistic transition in painting from Monet to Matisse.

He was born on 8 August 1869 in Dieppe, in the Normandy region of France, into a wealthy family of ship owners. Valtat spent his youth in Versailles, a suburb of Paris, where he attended secondary school at the Lycée Hoche, which is near the Palace of Versailles. Encouraged by his father, an amateur landscape painter himself, Valtat was interested in art. He deciding to pursue an artistic career and 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 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” were influenced by Paul Gauguin’s (1848–1903) Synthetist method of painting based on the use of simple forms, pure colors, and large patterns.

To be continued in part II

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