Les élégantes au salon, c.1918
Signed lower right 'L. Valtat'
Oil on cardboard mounted on panel
13 7/8 x 20 5/8 in, 35.3 x 52.4 cm
‘Les élégantes au salon’ celebrates the jubilation of dance and beckons in the roaring 20s. Painting at the end of the First World War, Valtat created a series of observatory...
‘Les élégantes au salon’ celebrates the jubilation of dance and beckons in the roaring 20s. Painting at the end of the First World War, Valtat created a series of observatory works of Parisian life particularly focusing upon the élégantes (fashionable young women) of theatres and salons; these women represented a modern world of escapism, pleasure and frivolity away from the horrors of the War.
Valtat first met the Nabis painters Bonnard, Vuillard and Denis while studying at Académie Julien under Jules Dupré. The Nabis had the aim to revitalise painting through strong decorative forms that veered away from realistic representation. Although detached from the Nabis, Valtat clearly shares some of the values of this group, here depicting a scene that is full of noise and movement, while only being on a single pictorial plane. The flat areas of dramatic colour and boldly outlined figures in ‘Les élégantes au salon’ all hint towards this influence, while still retaining Valtat’s own unique style.
Born in Dieppe, Valtat arrived in Paris aged 17, where he first studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. From there he won the 1890 Jauvin d’Attainville prize and made his first appearance in the Salon of Independent Artists of 1893. Often associated with the Fauves due to his involvement in the scandalous Salon d’Automne of 1905, Valtat cannot be categorised so simply. He spent many summers with Renoir in Cagnes, Southern France and painted the décor for Theatre L’Oeuvre Paris with Toulouse-Lautrec.
Valtat’s works are now held in many of the most prestigious public collections: Tate, London, MoMA, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid and Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
Galerie Romanet, Paris
Private Collection, France
This work is numbered 4258 in the Louis Valtat archives and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné.
It is accompanied by a photo certificate signed by Julien Valtat, 2018.