My Highlights from The Salon: Art + Design
An artist whose career was defined by coloristic expression and unyielding originality, Louis Valtat is among the foremost painters of the Post-Impressionist period. His bold, distinctive style is showcased in this composition entitled Fleurs en Vase Bleu, a painting that epitomizes the richness and intensity of color for which he is renowned. The burst of blooming flowers that dominate the composition is carefully constructed with a profusion of hues, layered in such a skillful and stylized manner as to convey a sense of harmony. The expressive, swirling blossoms appear to melt into the background, while the blue vase and brilliant yellow table bring colorful perspective to the nearly-abstract still life. At once bold and compelling, the entrancingly dynamic canvas reflects the avant-garde attitudes that make his works so loved.
Born in Dieppe in 1869, Valtat entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at the age of 17, where he studied under the great French figure painters Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. It was here that his association began with a number of artists who would influence the trajectory of his style, including Matisse, Vuillard, Bonnard, Signac, and Renoir, with whom he remained lifelong friends. He was awarded the Jauvin d’Attainville prize in 1890 and exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants in 1893.
Afflicted with tuberculosis, Valtat traveled to the Mediterranean coast for an extended period of convalescence. During this time, he painted brightly hued canvases in almost violent tones, works which would prove to be important forerunners to the Fauvist movement that rocked the art world in 1905. It was in 1900 that Valtat not only married his wife but also made an agreement with the renowned collector Amroise Vollard who, on the advice of Renoir, bought all of his work for the next ten years.
He was awarded the Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in 1927 and continued to paint in an expressive neo-impressionistic style throughout his career. He developed glaucoma late in life, which made it increasingly difficult for him paint in the years before his death in 1952.
This work is pictured in Louis Valtat, Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint 1869-1952, 1977, by J. Valtat on page 308, no. 2763.
Painted in 1942
Canvas: 13 1/4" high x 10 7/8" wide
Frame: 21 7/8" high x 19 5/8" wide
Signature: Signed "L. Valtat" (lower right)
French, 1869-1952, Dieppe, France, based in Paris, France