French painter, born in Dieppe. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1877, and subsequently studied at the Académie Julian. His early work was in a Neo-Impressionist style, but by the mid-1890s he was painting with pure, strong colours in a manner that anticipated Fauvism. He later exhibited with the Fauves, notably at the famous Salon d'Automne exhibition in 1905 at which they acquired their name, but he was never a formal member of the group. While most of the Fauves abandoned the style after a few years, Valtat continued to explore the use of pure colour throughout his life. Until 1914 he spent much of his time in the South of France, then lived in relative seclusion in the valley of the Chevreuse near Paris. He maintained a substantial output of landscapes, still-lifes, figure studies, portraits, and flower pieces, but disappeared from the public gaze. In 1948 he went blind. It was only after his death that he was recognized as a significant precursor of Fauvism.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.