Pierre Adolphe Valette (13 October 1876 – 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.
Little is known of his family and early life, except that his parents were poor and that he studied at the local art school in St Etienne. His second wife Andree, believed that he started working at sixteen, so it was about 1862 that he went to Lyon to work as an engraver and painter whilst continuing his studies.He travelled a great deal and it was in Bordeaux where he was enrolled in evening classes that he won the crucial scholarship in 1903, which was to bring him to England. He enrolled in the painting course at the Birkbeck Institute in London.
He left for Manchester after only a few months, arriving around Spring 1904. He worked for some time on private commissions and designing calendars and tickets.In the evenings Valette attended classes at the Municipal School of Art and by 1906 he was on the staff and was soon Art Master. Between 1906-20 Valette’s presence seems to have transformed the school of Art. One of his pupils was L.S. Lowry, who went on to achieve world wide fame. Lowry paid tribute to Valette on a number of occasions.
Whilst in Manchester Valette produced some stunning paintings of Manchester city scenes seen through an impressionist eye. He captured the city in all it’s moods, from the bustling streets during the day through to the sombre stillness of the canals on a cold wintery evening. Lowry was obviously influenced by the way Valette painted Manchester.He exhibited in Manchester in 1912 and with The Society of Modern Painters in Liverpool on a regular basis until he left England in 1928. He retired to his parents cottage in Blache. He continued to paint in the latter part of his life, concentrating mainly on French Landscapes.
In recent years exhibitions of his work have been held at Manchester City Art Gallery in 1976 and in 1994.