Louis Valtat 1869 - 1952

Louis Valtat and the fauvism

Fauvisme, the circumstances :
I
n its 4 November 1905 issue, the magazine « L’Illustration » commented the characteristics of the paintings presented at le Salon d’Automne. Due to the pagination, Louis Valtat got mixed up with the scandal revealing to the public a new approach to post impressionism painting: The Fauvism.

The IIIème Salon d’Automne took place under the glass roof of the Grand Palais, Champs-Elysées, from 18 October to 25 November, 1905.

Room VII, the paintings realized by Camoin, Derain, Manguin, Marquet and Vlaminck were presented together with those of Matisse who, though the elder, appeared to be the leader.

In room XV, Valtat’s five paintings could be seen together with those of Kandinsky, Jawlensky and some others…

Fauvism, where does this name come from ?
V
isiting the 1905 Salon d’Automne, Louis Vauxcelles, art critic, noticed a sculpture of a child’s bust, made by the artist Albert Marque. This sculpture was surrounded by paintings with striking colours dominated by the Lion ayant faim by Douanier Rousseau. He then shouted:  « Donatello among the fauvest ! »

Fauvism, what is it ?
T
he Fauvism means a pictorial expression mainly obtained in using the colours as they come straight from the colour box. The forms are simplified, the perspective is abolished by flatten-ing the space and leaving out the shadows.

Fauvism, how to date it ?
T
hough the name Fauve came out from the 1905 Salon d’Automne, this way of painting is probably older than this date.

During the 1895-1896 winter season, Louis Valtat painted in Arcachon. Do these paintings not gather all the characteristics the Fauvism which are: Pure colors, Simplified forms, Abolished perspectives, Deleted shadows.

The paintings which Valtat achieved in Arcachon, presented at le Salon des Indépendants in 1896 together with about eighty water colours, drawings, engravings on wood, were gathered under one title, Dans la baie.

Thadée Natanson took notice of this work. He published his report about the Indépendants in the 1896 issue of La Revue Blanche, underlining that Valtat’s studies represented
… A fascinating sight and promising talents… a worthy personality…
He too noted that Valtat only used a: … Very few pure shades…
T
he oil paintings were : Much more striking…

Though presented at les Indépendants, mentioned in La Revue Blanche, how could Valtat’s paintings not be noticed by young painters taught by Gustave Moreau at l’Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1896 and who were to become the Fauves in 1905.