There is not a serious collector of Northern Art who is unfamiliar with the work of Pierre Adolphe Valette, a French impressionist who through a combination of circumstances arrived in Manchester in around 1905.
It is difficult not to conclude that without the Lowry link Valette, like many other French impressionists of the era, would have become yet another talented painter fallen into obscurity, but he merits so much more and has deservedly escaped such a fate. The teaching of Lowry is in fact a side issue - though Lowry acknowledged the influence of his teacher - Valette also improved and guided artists such as Emmanuel Levy, Harry Rutherford, Karl Hagedorn and James Fitton.
Valette essentially modernised the teaching of art in the North West, bringing from the continent ways of painting, and indeed seeing, that were quite alien to the area at the time. Valette's real influence was to reveal artistic possibilities and push Manchester's professional artists into exploring them.
But to pigeon hole "Mr Monsieur", as he was known to his pupils, as simply an exceptional teacher is to perpetrate an injustice. Adolphe Valette, as this small exhibition clearly shows, was an artist of consummate skill, with bold and expressive brushwork and an understanding of colour which must have been a revelation to those in dour Manchester who first gazed upon his work. This impressionistic flair was built upon technique of the first rank - Valette's etchings and still life drawings provided a masterclass of how such things ought to be done.
Most attention from collectors has been focused upon his ethereal scenes of central Manchester and the Ship Canal, but this can overlook a large part of his oeuvre; the portraits, the still lives and the landscapes of the North West and rural France. All are worthy of contemplation and respect.
Any lingering doubts about the importance of Valette, not just as a painter of Manchester but as a mainstream European painter, were swept away in 2011 with a major retrospective at the Lowry Centre, curated by Lyon. It was a vindication. The Guardian, in its review, grandly termed him: "The Monet of Manchester".