1869-1952 | French
Initialed "L.V." (lower right)
Oil on board
Vibrantly hued hyacinths burst forth with color in this Post-Impressionist composition by the French painter Louis Valtat. Les Jacinthes is a prime example of Valtat’s signature style, which was defined by an intense, bright palette coupled with the lyrical brushwork of the Impressionists. Depicting bouquets of flowers blooming outdoors in a garden, the oil on board is a refreshing take on the traditional still life category.
The floral still life was a favorite of the artist and one that he would paint a number of times over his career, though few examples express the vibrancy of the present work. It reveals two key influences on Valtat's style: Vincent van Gogh and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Valtat was fascinated by van Gogh's bold and dramatic brushstrokes, adopting his penchant for defining contours with stark outlines. He was also a close friend of Renoir, whose color harmonies closely resemble those employed by Valtat in his floral still lifes, though Valtat chose a far more vibrant palette. The resulting canvases reveal his instrumental role in the development of the Fauvist aesthetic.
Born in Normandy in 1869, Valtat enrolled at the École 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 career, including Henri Matisse, Édouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Paul 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.
Renoir introduced Valtat’s works to Ambroise Vollard, the renowned art dealer. Louis Valtat was identified by Ambroise Vollard as one of the most exciting painters working in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. On Renoir’s advice, Vollard made an agreement with Valtat to purchase almost all of the artist’s work for the first decade of the 20th century (1902 – 1912), and to become his dealer and agent.
The relationship was a fruitful one; Vollard went on to organize Valtat’s first solo exhibition at his gallery and submitted Valtat’s works to other exhibitions in Paris. In 1927, Louis Valtat was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, which was considered the premier order of France. Throughout his career, Valtat remained true to his unique style and was never completely associated with a particular art movement, but influenced by many. Today, his works are found in important collections around the globe, including the Hermitage (St. Petersburg), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Madrid), the Musée des Beaux Art (Bordeaux) and many others.
The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the late Louis-André Valtat.
Board: 15" high x 18" wide
Frame: 22 3/4" high x 25 7/8" wide