Fauve Landscape, 1905–06
Louis Valtat (French, 1869–1952)
Oil on canvas
Bequest of Mrs. Blakemore Wheeler 1964.31.13
This painting would benefit enormously from a thorough cleaning. The thin layer of old varnish has discolored, dulling the appearance of the painting and giving the work a matte appearance. The aged varnish has also collected a moderate amount of grime, which has embedded itself into the surface layer. Structurally, the canvas has gone slack over the years, which is an indication that the stretcher bars on which the painting is attached needs to be readjusted to improve the tension of the canvas.
Treatment involves removal of the varnish. It is suspected that Valtat may have purposely left his canvases unvarnished, as did many of the artists associated with the Fauves. We’ll determine whether we leave the painting unvarnished, or apply a thin coat of stable varnish. Either way, the appearance of the painting will be markedly improved, resulting in bolder purples, brighter oranges, and vibrant greens.