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In the Gallery: Louis Valtat – Valtat and His Son



AG 1989.12.1- Valtat and His Son, Louis Valtat

By Angela Gonzalez,  Curatorial Intern

This colorful painting depicts a man and a young boy, situated side by side. The elder holds a paintbrush as the younger peers onto the canvas before them. It is a self-portrait of the artist and the young boy is his son. The brush strokes are loose which provides movement through the composition. Valtat uses tones and hues of red, yellow and brown to make the background stand out. There is no recognizable imagery, except for the figures which dominate the foreground. The artist on the right, wears a hat as he stares out to the viewer. His coat is fastened only allowing a small white collar and the top of his tie to peek through.

Valtat was born in northwestern France, and as a child he grew up in Versailles. He spent a considerable amount of time in the South of France. He became friends with artists in the area, and it should not go without noting that Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was a personal friend of Valtat. He was also a stage designer however, this is an aspect of his career that has not been studied in great depth. He was active in many different categories of new techniques in the approach to creating art such as Pointillism. Later in life he would be associated with the Fauves, a group of artists known for their loose handling of the brush.

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