Louis Valtat

Bouquet de pivoines, circa 1920, by Louis Valtat, a cheerful painting with acid colors and vibrant brush strokes.

Oil on canvas
Monogrammed lower right
Dimensions: 44 x 34 cm
with frame: 67 x 57 cm
Louis XIV carved wooden frame
Price: €25,000

Louis Valtat, a great colorist and precursor of Fauvism

The intensity of this great colorist’s contrasts and the boldness of his tonalities make him a precursor of Fauvism.
Louis Valtat teaches at the École des Beaux-arts de Paris in 1896. His pupils included Matisse, Rouault, Puy, Marquet, Camoin and Manguin. For this follower of Gustave Moreau, color not only tends to evoke reality, but can also be enriched with symbolic value. Experimenting with simplified forms containing pure colors in his own paintings, produced in Arcachon during the winter of 1895-96, he was ten years ahead of his pupils in announcing a triumph in which he would participate.

A still life of tangy colors and vibrant brush strokes

Allowing for daring mixes of color, the still life occupies a privileged place in Louis Valtat’s work.
The multiplicity of strokes forming the petals and leaves, as well as the colorful patterns of the tablecloth and porcelain pitcher with their floral decorations, give free rein to the artist’s talent and bold colorist, bringing a vibrant intensity to the canvas.


The discreet, prolific and inventive Louis Valtat belonged to several groups at the same time, outside a real school but with an asserted independent personality. Very often he was a precursor or a premonitory figure – a Fauve without realizing it, a Nabi before his time, a Pointillist in particular… His work, constantly moving forward, changes, always preceding a movement as the painter discovers new things, constantly encountering surprises and discoveries.
Louis Valtat frequented the greatest Neo-Impressionist, Fauvist and Nabis artists in Paris, Brittany and Provence, and took part in group shows such as the Salon des Indépendants in 1889 and the Salon d’Automne in 1905 (famous for spotting the Fauvists), as well as solo shows at the Vollard and Druet galleries in Paris.
His stays on the Côte d’Azur and in Marseille introduced him to artists who were just as color-loving as the Fauves, such as Georges d’Espagnat, Paul Gervais, Armand Guillaumin and René Seyssaud…


– Paris, group exhibition at Galerie Durand-Ruel, 1899.
– Brussels, Salon de La Libre Esthétique, 1900.
– Vienna, Gebaüde der Secession, 1903.
– Dresden, Kunst Salon Ernst Arnold, 1906.
– Moscow, Tretyakov Gallery, 1908.
-Geneva, Petit Palais, centenary retrospective, June Sept, 1969.
– Turin, Galleria d’Arte Pirra, 1974: Berenice.
– Saint-Tropez, Musée de l’Annonciade, 1989.
– Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, from May 19 to August 27, 1995.
– Musée d’Art moderne de la ville de Paris, 1999.
– Les Baux-de-Provence, Musée Yves Brayer, 2010.
– Lodève, Fleury Museum, 2011.


– Benezit dictionary
– Collectif, Louis Valtat, [catalogue édité par le musée de Dieppe], 1959.
– Raymond Cogniat, Louis Valtat, Neuchâtel, Éditions Ides et Calendes.
– George and Adèle Besson Collection, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 1964.
– Collectif, Valtat, retrospective du Centenaire, 1869-1969, [catalogue de l’exposition du Petit Palais de Genève], Geneva, Éditions Besson, 1969.
– Jean Valtat, Louis Valtat, (1869-1952), l’œuvre peint, t.I., Neuchâtel,Éditions Ides et Calendes, 1977.
– Collective, Post-Impressionism, [catalogue d’exposition], London, The Royal Academy of Arts, 1979.
– Collectif, Louis Valtat, paysages de l’Estérel, [catalogue de l’exposition du musée de l’Annonciade à Saint-Tropez], 1989.
– Collectif, Louis Valtat in Arcachon Bay 1895, Besançon,
– F. Garcia, Louis Valtat (1869-1952), retrospective exhibition, Musée des beaux-arts de Bordeaux, William Blake & C°, 1995.
– Jean-Luc Chalumeau, Le Fauvisme, Éditions Cercle d’Art, Collection “Découvrons l’art du xxe siècle”, 2004.
– Maïthé Vallés-Bled, Valtat indépendant et précurseur, preface by François Commeinhes, Musée Paul Valéry, Salles la Source, Au fil du Temps, 2011, .
– Bernard Seiden, Ivonne Papin-Drastik, Louis Valtat. À l’aube du fauvisme, Éditions Midi-Pyrénéennes, 2011.
– Collective, “Louis Valtat”, Beaux Arts magazine, special issue, March 2011.
– Collectif, “Louis Valtat”, Dossier de l’Art, no 186, June 2011, 96 p.
– Nathalia Brodskaya, Les Fauves, Parkstone International, 2012, 200 p.



– Paris, Musée d’Orsay: L’Estaminet, oil on canvas.
– Bernay, Musée des Beaux-Arts: Reading, 1898, oil on canvas.
– Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie :
– Bordeaux, Musée des Beaux-Arts; 13 works.
– Portrait de Mme Valtat au canapé Louis XVI, oil on canvas;
– Caen, Musée des Beaux-Arts: Le Cap Long à Agay, oil on canvas.
– Cahors, Musée de Cahors Henri-Martin: Rochers de l’Esterel,
– Granville, Richard Anacréon Museum of Modern Art:
– Nancy, Musée des Beaux-Arts: Manège aux chevaux de bois, 1895-1896,
– Nice, Musée des Beaux-Arts.
– Roubaix, La Piscine: Vallée de Chevreuse, before 1937, oil on canvas.
– Toulon, Musée d’Art: Flowers and cherries, oil on canvas.
– Toulouse, Fondation Bemberg: Sur le boulevard, oil on canvas.
– Ver-sur-Mer, church pediment: Saint-Martin, 1918, stone bas-relief.

United States

– Palm Beach (Florida), Collection David E. Weisman and Jacqueline E. Michel : Au Café , Pastel on gray paper ~1904.


– Moscow, Pushkin Museum:
– Saint Petersburg, Hermitage Museum :
Les Falaises violettes (Tide);
By the boat, on the beach, 1899 ;
A gathering of young women, circa 1898.


– Geneva, Petit Palais, collection of 22 paintings.