Valette, Adolphe

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Adolphe Valette

1876 – 1942

Pierre Adolphe Valette (1876 – 1942) was a French Impressionist painter. His most acclaimed paintings are urban landscapes of Manchester, now in the collection of Manchester Art Gallery. Today, he is chiefly remembered as L. S. Lowry’s tutor.
 
Born in St Etienne in 1876, he trained at the Ecole Municipale de Beaux-Arts et des Arts Decoratifs in Bordeaux.
 
Valette arrived in England for unknown reasons in 1904 and studied at the Birbeck Institute, London. In 1905 he travelled to the North West of England where he began a short career designing greetings cards and calendars for a Manchester printing company.
 
He attended evening classes at Manchester Municipal School of Art and in 1907 he was invited to join the staff as a teacher. His French teaching style, painting by demonstration, was new to the United Kingdom. Lowry expressed great admiration for Valette, who taught him new techniques and showed him the potential of the urban landscape as a subject.
 
In 1920 he resigned from the Institute due to ill health. He stayed in Lancashire for a further eight years, teaching privately and painting in Manchester and Bolton. In 1928 he returned to Paris, where he died in 1942.
His paintings are distinctively Impressionist; a style that suited the damp fogginess of Manchester.