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Louis Valtat (1869-1952)
Louis Valtat (1869-1952)

Suzanne Valtat sur le rivage d'Anthéor

Louis Valtat (1869-1952)
Suzanne Valtat sur le rivage d'Anthéor
signed 'L. Valtat' (lower right)
oil on canvas
32 x 39½ in. (81.3 x 100.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1904
Niveau Gallery, New York (by 1957).
Hammer Galleries, New York.
Russeck Gallery, Palm Beach.
Acquired from the above by the present owners, February 2005.
New York, Hammer Galleries, La femme éternelle, 19th and 20th Century European Collection, January-February 2005, p. 8 (illustrated in color, p. 9).

Lot Essay

The late Louis-André Valtat has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.

Suzanne Valtat sur le rivage d'Anthéor is an incredibly vivid painting of the artist's wife in Agay-Anthéor in the South of France, a region famous for its coast of massive red rocks by the sea. Valtat's paintings of Agay-Anthéor are characterized by their pure and aggressive colors--he eventually owned a home in the region and it is while living and painting there that he developed a more daring and energetic palette. Paul Signac wrote to his good friend Valtat in a letter dated 10 February 1899: "I wish I could be over there [in Agay], among this blue, this red, and this green" (quoted in Louis Valtat à l'aube du fauvisme, exh. cat., Musée de Lodève, 2011, p. 153). In this work, Valtat makes use of these flashing colors--reds, greens, blues, and yellows--to recreate a joyful composition of the hues that characterized this natural landscape. It is paintings like this one that link the artist to the Fauvist movement, a style known for its devotion to pure color over form and figure. Suzanne Valtat is positioned just off-center along the bottom edge of the painting, yet the viewer's attention is more immediately captivated by the intense blood-orange coloration of the rocks-- this was a subject that quickly became a favorite of the artist and one that he would paint a number of times during his stay in Agay-Anthéor.

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