Louis Valtat is a modern painter born in Dieppe on August 8, 1869. As early as 1886. He entered the School of Fine Arts and also trained at the Julian Academy where he met the painters Albert André and Pierre Bonnard with whom he became friends.
In 1890 he won the Jauvin d’Attainville prize (a competition instituted by the School of Fine Arts) and exhibited at the Salon des artistes indépendants in 1893. At that time, he mainly represented landscapes and was inspired by the environment in which he lived. In Paris, it will be the animation of the streets, in Arcachon where he is in convalescence in 1895, the maritime landscapes.
His paintings are noticed at the Salon des indépendants of 1896 and announce “Fauvism” by its intensification of color. The association of his work with this current is today however to be nuanced: the artist certainly frequented the Nabis, but also Renoir, Signac… so many characters who have an influence on his work, so diversified.
It was in 1900 that Louis Valtat made an agreement with the art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who would later own almost all of his pictorial production. Ambroise Vollard organised his first personal exhibition and he exhibited at the 1905 Salon d’Automne, where he was one of the most noticed artists along with Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet.
The recognition of his art became official in 1927 when he was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. The artist still attracts today, notably many collectors in the art market and auction world.
Louis Valtat, without ever getting close to a particular current but by rubbing shoulders with the greatest neo-impressionist, fauvist or nabis artists, participates in a certain transition between the impressionist and fauvist currents while working on the various emerging trends. The simple fact of the rapprochement instinctively made by contemporary critics is in itself proof of the astonishing and brilliant modernity of Louis Valtat’s painting.