1869-1952 | French
Les Vases de Fleurs
(The Flower Vases)
Signed "L Valtat" (lower right)
Oil on canvas
Vibrantly hued flowers burst forth with color in this Post-Impressionist composition by the French painter Louis Valtat. Les Vases de Fleurs is a prime example of Valtat’s signature style, which was defined by coloristic expression and unyielding originality. Depicting a bouquet of blooming flowers, the oil on canvas is a refreshing take on the traditional still life category. Valtat’s use of a flattened plane and lack of shadow lend the composition a unique brightness that draws attention to his remarkable skill as a colorist. At once bold and compelling, it reflects the avant-garde attitudes that make his works so loved.
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 Pierre-Auguste 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.
Canvas: 13 1/8" high x 16 1/8" wide
Frame: 19 1/2" high x 22 5/8" wide
Atelier Matignon, Paris
Galerie d’art Michel Bigue, Québec (purchased from the above c. 1987)
Private Collection, Canada
Private Collection, London
M.S. Rau, New Orleans, 2019