Louis Valtat was identified by the late, great, art collector and dealer Ambroise Vollard as one of the most exciting painters working in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. On Renoir’s advice, Vollard made an agreement with Valtat to purchase almost all of the artist’s work for the first decade of the 20th century (1902 – 1912).
The subject of vegetables and flowers was dear to Valtat. Before the First World War he had spent a great deal of time in Estérel, South France (45km from Cannes) and had built himself a home there, which he had enjoyed a great deal. But in 1914, due to the outbreak of war, he stopped travelling there and for a decade was deprived of the fresh fruit and vegetables that he had become accustomed to enjoying from his garden. When, in 1924, he bought a house in Choisel in the Chevreuse Valley, he seemed to rediscover that pleasure and his painting subjects are proof of it.
Despite his connection to the Nabis and the Fauvists, it is generally accepted that Valtat was his own, independent character and a man who felt most at ease outside the city of Paris. He preferred the periods that he spent in the countryside – in Estérel in Southern France in the early 1900s, and then again in the Chevreuse Valley outside Paris after 1924.