French Impressions
March, 2008
Adolphe Valette was born in Saint-Étienne, near Lyon, France, in 1876.
Nobody knows quite why it was, in 1904, he chose to live and work in Manchester.
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Albert Square, Manchester
But for nearly ten years from 1905 he was tutor to L.S. Lowry, who attended night classes at the Manchester School of Art.
Ironically, Lowry, regarded as a joke by his fellow students, was the only one of Valette's pupils who went on to achieve world fame.
Lowry is now better known to the public than his tutor, but Valette is seen in many art circles as one of the great Impressionist painters, with work comparable to Monet and Turner.
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All Saints, Manchester
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Central Station, Manchester
Valette's Central Station, Manchester (left) clearly echoes Monet's famous Gare Saint-Lazare paintings, but his city paintings, like Albert Square, Manchester, and two splendid canvases of horse-drawn cabs at All Saints, helped to establish his reputation as a painter of the first order.
When Valette returned to his home country in 1928, the Gallery acquired nine of his atmospheric paintings of the city. These included his most ambitious work, Albert Square 1910 (see above), which shows the busy city square with its Victorian Town Hall and Albert Memorial bathed in fog.
Valette’s work is now on permanent display in Manchester, alongside his erstwhile pupil, L.S. Lowry.