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Vase de fleurs | 1925

January 15th - March 15th 2022

Painted in 1925, from the Galerie de l’Effort Moderne, Vase de fleurs belongs to the most sought after period for collectors, beginning in 1922, when Valmier refocused on a style of figuration characterised by a pared-down, rigorous Cubist language, enhanced by a tender and vibrant chromatic palette.

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Georges Valmier (1885-1937)

Vase de fleurs, 1925

Oil on canvas
Signed and dated G VALMIER 25, bottom right.
65 x 50 cm l 25 5/8 x 19 5/8 in.

Galerie de l’Effort Moderne, Léonce Rosenberg, Paris
Arthur Tooth and Sons, London
Sotheby’s London, 1962, n°51
Private collection, Paris

Léonce Rosenberg, Bulletin de l’Effort Moderne, n°18, Paris, October 1925, reproduction.
René Huyghe, l’Amour de l’Art, 14th year, n°9, Paris, November 1933, reproduced p. 238.
Georges Wildenstein, La gazette des Beaux-Arts “Le Cubisme par Maurice Reynal”, March 1935, 865th delivery, 6th period, tome VIII, reproduced p.24.
Denise Bazetoux, Catalogue raisonné de Georges Valmier, Éditions Noème, Paris, 1993, n°477, reproduced p. 143.

Georges Valmier (Angoulême, 1885 – Paris, 1937) was a painter whose work was part of the great avant-gardes of the early twentieth century. His inimitable use of colour has guaranteed him a special place in the history of Cubist painting.  

Over the course of his short career, begun in the early 1910s, Valmier produced a small number of oils on canvas (barely 300), created from preparatory sketches in gouache and collage on paper. The still lifes, such as Vase de fleurs, have an important place in these paintings, alongside his three other main themes: landscapes, portraits and compositions.

Georges Valmier at 40 years old.

“There is no technical definition of Cubism. It has its human and universal meaning and it will continue to gravitate in the realm of the spirit.”

Georges Valmier, Bulletin de la Vie Artistique, December 1st, 1924

Created following four preparatory gouaches, Vase de fleurs is characterised by a frontal, balanced composition. With its geometric forms, its superimposed planes, its wavy lines and its shadowy areas, with a touch of fantasy visible in the treatment of the checkered cloth, Vase de fleurs transcribes an undeniably optimistic dimension by means of which the artist sought to express feelings and intelligence.

Vase de fleurs demonstrates Valmier’s great skill as a colourist. Through his subtle use of the palette, he created atmospheres suffused with serenity. Great, flat planes of soft blue, grey and jade green juxtapose, interspersed with touches of red, golden yellow and pink, producing an overall effect of sensitive harmony.

Georges Valmier, Vase de fleurs, 1925, detail

Georges Wildenstein, La gazette des Beaux-Arts “Le Cubisme par Maurice Reynal”, March 1935, 865th delivery, 6th period, tome VIII

Maurice Raynal, an art critic and a champion of Cubism, wrote about the artist:

“Georges Valmier introduced a freshness, one might even say a naivety, into Cubism, which no one had thought to bring before, or perhaps which no one had been able to bring. It may seem paradoxical to use the word ‘naivety’ to describe his art, which, by its very definition, was highly scholarly and cerebral. Valmier’s virtue was to retain this lightness in spite of his great learning, both in terms of inspiration and expression.”

“Les créateurs du cubisme,” exhibition catalogue, galerie des Beaux-Arts, 1935, painting reproduced.

From 1922, Valmier’s return to geometric figuration, by means of clear, frontal composition arrangements and a chromatic balance, displayed the influence of Purism, created in 1918 by the artists Ozenfant and Le Corbusier. This movement, inspired by synthetic Cubism, advocated a new, more rigorous and rational aesthetic, and essentially represented still-lifes composed of everyday objects. Created in 1926, the female portrait entitled Composition presents a similar composition.

Georges Valmier, Composition, 1926. Oil on canvas, 81 x 60 cm © CentrePompidou, MNAM-CCI.

Georges Valmier, Vase de fleurs, 1925. Label of Léonce Rosenberg, referenced under n°8546.

From 1919, Valmier was supported by Léonce Rosenberg at the Galerie de l’Effort Moderne. He met Rosenberg thanks to his friend Albert Gleizes. Their strong friendship lasted for the rest of their lives and Valmier’s entire body of work was entrusted to the dealer.

In the Bulletin de l’Effort Moderne de février 1925, the review edited by the gallery, Valmier explained his artistic intentions: “It is not merely a question of doing what you see, but of feeling, of understanding, what is. In order, of course, to do something altogether different to what has already been done, and which our eyes can only perceive to a restricted degree.”

Denise Bazetoux, Georges Valmier, catalogue raisonné, édition Noème, Paris 1993, n°477, reproduced p. 143.

In the gallery

A&R FLEURY is pleased to share this online visit with you. The gallery, located close to the Palais de l’Élysée and the Hôtel Bristol, opened a new space in 2018 in a neighbourhood surrounded by prestigious institutions, at the heart of the Parisian art market. Vase de fleurs by Georges Valmier is on display in the gallery, alongside works by the masters of the twentieth century and contemporary artists.

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