Portrait of a Girl, c. 1910
charcoal on paper
25.5 x 29.9 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Dr. and Mrs. L.H. Kahane
Louis Valtat was born in Dieppe, France, but spent much of his youth in Versailles, and eventually moved to Paris in 1887. He studied under Gustave Moreau at the École des Beaux-Arts, before moving to the Académie Julian where he met Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, and Édouard Vuillard, who greatly influenced his artmaking. Many of Valtat’s artist friends were associated with a group of Post-Impressionist artists known as Les Nabis (the prophets). Like them, Valtat was interested in rendering the mystic beauty of the world, and he often expressed this in his art through simplified forms, patterned compositions, and blocks of colour. In this charcoal drawing of a young woman, simple lines and contours define the portrait, and there is no trace of shading or shadow.