Louis Valtat (1869-1952)

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    Louis Valtat was a French painter born in 1869. He is considered as one of the founders  and leaders of the Fauvist movement and was associated with some of the most influential painters of his day, such as Auguste Renoir, Maximilien Luce and Paul Signac.

    Valtat was born into a wealthy family of ship oweners. Encouraged by his father, he attended the École des Beaux Arts de Paris in 1887, before studying at the Académie Julian. His fellow students included Albert Andre, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis and Edouard Vuillard. As members of the Nabis movement, they were largely influenced by the Synthetist method of painting based on simple forms, pure colours and large patterns. While Valtat was detatched from the movement, his later works bear the influence of Paul Gauguin.

    In 1890 Valtat won the Jauvin d'Attainville prize and established his own studio at rue La Glaciere in Paris. He made his debut at the Salon of Independent Artists in 1893. During his early career Valtat experimented with touches of Impressionism and Pointillism. He exhibited widely and collaborated with artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Albert André. Towards the end of his life Valtat began to spend the autumn and winter seasons along the Mediterranean coast. His use of colour became a major concern and Valtat began to express his Fauvist tendencies. This is particularly apparent in his paintings of seascapes.