"Anemones" oil on canvas 13 1/4 x 16 1/2
Louis Valtat was born into a wealthy family of ship owners on 8 August 1869 in the Normandy region of France. Valtat spent many of his childhood years in Versailles where he attended secondary school at the Lycée Hoche (near the Palace of Versailles). Encouraged by his father, an amateur landscape painter himself, Valtat became interested in art. At age 17 he applied to the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris. He was accepted in 1887 and moved to Paris to enroll at the Ecole, where he studied with the well-known academic artists Gustave Boulanger (1824–1888), Jules Lefebvre (1836–1911), and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845–1902).
In 1890, he won the Jauvin d'Attainville prize; he then set up his workshop at rue de La Glacière in Paris. In 1893, he took part in the Salon des Artistes Indépendants for the first time. On the advice of Renoir, Ambroise Vollard made an agreement with Valtat to buy practically all his works for ten years.
He was a leading founder of the Fauvist movement along with Matisse, Vlaminck, Derain, Manguin, Dongen Friesz and Puy. Although Valtat had painted in this manner for several years, it was not until his exhibition in the 1905 Salon d'Automne that the term "Fauves," meaning "wild beasts," came into use. In 1927 Valtat was appointed Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur. During his career he achieved great acclaim as a leading artist of his time and worked side by side with many of the great artists of the period such as Renoir, Signac Matisse and Toulouse Lautrec to name a few. At his last public appearance, for the Fauvism exhibition held in the summer of 1951 at the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris, he attended the exhibition of six of his paintings. He passed away shortly thereafter on January 2, 1952.
His works are highly valued and collected worldwide. He is represented in many of the great museums around the world including the following:
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Chambéry; Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Marseilles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The State Hermitage Museum, Saint-Petersburg; Musée de l'Annonciade, Saint-Tropez; Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art; Fondation Bemberg, Toulouse; Musée des Augustins, Toulouse; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Troyes; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL