Pierre Adolphe Valette

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Pierre Adolphe Valette
A head and shoulders portrait of a thirty something man, with a dark beard, facing towards the viewer
Self-portrait (1912)
Pierre Adolphe Valette

October 13, 1876
DiedApril 18, 1942(1942-04-18) (aged 65)
EducationEcole Municipale de Beaux-Arts et des Arts Decoratifs, Bordeaux
Birkbeck Institute, London.
Known forPainting, drawing

Pierre Adolphe Valette (13 October 1876 – 18 April 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.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Saint-Étienne in eastern central France, on 13 October 1876,[2] 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 Birkbeck Institute, now part of the University of London. In 1905 he travelled to the North West of England where he designed 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.[3]

Photograph of Valette (date unknown)

Salford painter, L. S. Lowry became a pupil of Valette, expressed great admiration for his tutor, who taught him new techniques and showed him the potential of the urban landscape as a subject. He called him "a real teacher ... a dedicated teacher" and added: "I cannot over-estimate the effect on me of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette, full of French impressionists, aware of everything that was going on in Paris."[1]

In 1920 Valette resigned from the Institute owing to ill health. He stayed in Lancashire for eight more years, teaching privately and painting in Manchester and Bolton. In 1928 he returned to Paris,[3] and subsequently moved to Blacé en Beaujolais where he died in 1942.

Valette's paintings are Impressionist. Manchester Art Gallery has a room devoted to him, where the viewer may compare some of his paintings with some of Lowry's, and judge to what extent Lowry's own style was influenced by him and by French Impressionism generally.[3][4]

The Lowry hosted an exhibition of about 100 works by Valette, alongside works by Lowry, between October 2011 and January 2012. It included paintings of Manchester from Manchester Art Gallery and loans from private owners.[5]


There is a commemorative blue plaque to Valette, located on the site on Manchester School of Art on Grosvenor Street, in Manchester, inscribed "Adolphe Valette (1876 - 1942) French painter and teacher in the School of Art 1907 - 1920."[6]




  1. ^ a b Mark Brown "Exhibition for 'Monet of Manchester' who inspired Lowry", The Guardian, 14 October 2011
  2. ^ Martin, Sandra (1994). Adolphe Valette: a French influence in Manchester. Manchester City Art Gallery. p. 11. ISBN 9780901673473.
  3. ^ a b c Adolphe Valette A French Painter in Manchester (PDF), Manchester Art Gallery, archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2008, retrieved 21 October 2011
  4. ^ In pictures: Adolphe Valette, bbc.co.uk, 14 October 2011, retrieved 21 October 2011
  5. ^ Brown, Mark (14 October 2011), Exhibition for 'Monet of Manchester' who inspired Lowry, London: The Guardian, retrieved 4 March 2012
  6. ^ "Adolphe Valette blue plaque in Manchester". blueplaqueplaces.co.uk. Retrieved 1 January 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Celia Lyon, (tr. Paul Ratcliffe), Adolphe Valette, Phillimore & Co Ltd (2006), ISBN 978-1-86077-426-3
  • Valette and the Post-Impressionists in "The Northern School: A Reappraisal", Martin Regan 2016, ISBN 978-1527203204

External links[edit]