Oil on canvas: 24 x 32 cm;
signed with monogram ‘L. V’ (lower right)
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The present work is a colorful still life with peaches painted by the French painter Louis Valtat. It features a spontaneous and partly impasto application of paint, whereas the broad brush strokes determine a pictorial expression of color rather than the realistic reproduction of fruit. In this way Valtat’s works were deeply influenced by Fauvism and its main representatives Henri Matisse, André Derain and Kees Van Dongen.
Louis Valtat was in fact able to transfer his modern understanding of painting to traditional themes. His success lies within the ability to convey the currents in modernity, such as those of the fauvists, to a viewer used to the traditional ways of seeing, whilst maintaining conventional aesthetic criteria and classical compositional means. Valtat is therefore deservedly considered one of the innovators of French art in the early 20th century.
In 1888 Louis Valtat attended the Académie Julian in Paris one, which mediated Gauguin’s principles on the use of pure color. A brief stay in Gustave Moreau’s studio followed. In 1890 Valtat opened his own studio in Paris. In 1894 he painted the stage designs for a play at the Théâtre de l’Oeuvre in collaboration with Toulouse-Lautrec. He first showed his paintings at the Salon des Indépendants. When he exhibited some of his works together with artists at the Salon d’Automne in 1905, the group caused quite a scandal and a critic coined the term ‘fauves’. In 1914 Valtat moved from the south of France to Paris. Here he painted numerous portraits of his wife and son. Thanks to a contract, which he signed with the gallery owner Ambroise Vollard in 1900, many of his paintings were acquired by important collectors.