Henri Valensi (1883 – 1960)
Henri Valensi was born in Algeria on 17th September,1883. He moved to Paris in 1898 and studied at the École des Beaux Arts de Paris. Before World War I he travelled extensively in Europe, Greece, Turkey, and Russia, exhibiting in 1905 at the Salon des Orientalistes and from 1907 at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris. He painted the various landscapes of the countries he had visited in a Neo-Impressionist style.
In 1912 he participated in the creation of the Selection d’Or with Marcel Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, Picabia, and Dumont. During the War he was the Peintre de l’Etat-Major de General Gourand and after the cessation of hostilities continued his travels in Europe and Africa.
In 1932 he published with a group of artists known as the “Manifeste des Artistes Musicales” and founded the Association des Artistes Musicales. They flourished during the 1930s up until the 1950s; their “Musicaliste” theory was to interpret the rhythms of music in two dimensions through abstract shapes.
Valensi organised and participated in twenty three Salon de Peinture Musicaliste exhibitions in Paris, the first being held in 1932 at the Galerie Renaissance. He also participated in many other “Musicaliste” exhibitions in cities across Europe such as Prague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Budapest, Bratislava, and Limoges.
After World War II he exhibited at the Salon des Realites Nouvelles in 1947, of which he later became the committee’s vice-president. He also exhibited regularly at the Salon Comparaisons, and in addition had several one-man exhibitions throughout his career – Vichy (1909), Galerie de Boetie in Paris (1913), and Rome (1923).
In 1973 the first retrospective of the Salon de Peinture Musicaliste was held in Paris at the Galerie Hexagramme, and Valensi was represented in the exhibition Paris-Moscou at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1979.
He died in 1960.