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THE TRIUMPH OF COLOR: IMPORTANT WORKS FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Louis Valtat
PORTRAIT DE MADAME VALTAT
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Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 471,000 USD
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171

THE TRIUMPH OF COLOR: IMPORTANT WORKS FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Louis Valtat
PORTRAIT DE MADAME VALTAT
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 471,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Louis Valtat
1869 - 1952
PORTRAIT DE MADAME VALTAT
Signed L. Valtat (lower right)
Oil on canvas
39 3/8 by 31 7/8 in.
100 by 81 cm
Painted circa 1904.
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Provenance

Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Galerie Beyeler, Basel
Mlle Bertagnac, Paris
Acquired from the above in 1959

Exhibited

Geneva, Musée de l'Athénée, De l'Impressionisme à l'École de Paris, 1960, no. 93
Geneva, Musée de l'Athénée, Rétrospective Valtat, 1962, no. 54
Geneva, Musée du Petit Palais, Louis Valtat Rétrospective Centenaire, 1969, n.n., illustrated on the cover
Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, De Cézanne à Picasso dans les collections romandes, 1985, no. 64
Geneva, Musée de Petit Palais, De Matisse à Kandisnky, 1993-94, n.n.
Bordeaux, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Exposition L. Valtat, 1995, no. 58
London, Tate Gallery, New Displays, 1996, n.n. 

Literature

Jean Valtat, Louis Valtat, Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint, vol. I, Paris, 1977, no. 465, illustrated p. 54

Catalogue Note

Best known for his resplendent landscapes and vivid flower compositions, Louis Valtat was to become a highly regarded painter of the Post-Impressionist period. Having absorbed the chief tenets of classical Impressionism and Pointillism in the 1890s, Valtat was both intrigued and influenced by the work of his burgeoning Fauve contemporaries such as Matisse, Marquet, Camoin, Manguin, Vlaminck, Derain and Dufy with whom he exhibited at the famous Salon d’Automne of 1905. The present work illustrates Valtat’s beautiful young wife, Suzanne Nöel, posing confidently. Depicted in immaculate white with shock of orange fur draped around her neck, the present work not only demonstrates Valtat’s love for Suzanne but also his mastery of the nascent Fauve aesthetic.

After the turn of the twentieth century, Valtat and other avant-garde pioneers of Post-Impressionism began to experiment with their brushstrokes. “They laid on the pigment thickly…in strokes that resembled vivid scars and which no longer had anything in common with the hatchings of Impressionism” (Raymond Cogniat, Louis Valtat, Paris, 1963, p. 23). Yet in spite of the artist’s heavy application of paint, the airy subject matter maintains integrity of its own thanks to the stunning Fauvist potpourri of floral tones. As Sarah Whitfield notes, “Louis Valtat, whose color appears to float on the surface of the canvas, is another painter somewhat loosely bracketed with the Fauves. Both Valtat, who like Matisse was born in 1869, and Seyssaud, who was two years older, belonged to the generation of painters who understood the picture surface to be primarily a flat piece of canvas covered with areas of paint" (Sarah Whitfield, Fauvism, London, 1991, p. 28).  These “areas of paint” were charged with evocative color in an attempt to enliven the canvas and seduce the spectator. The present work is a poignant example, a stunning synthesis of simplicity of form and exuberant luminosity.

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