Théodore VALERIO (Herserange, 1819 - Vichy , 1879)
Of Italian origins, Théodore Valério was born in the Moselle region of France and entered the studio of Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet in Paris in 1834. The two artists soon became friends, and in 1836 travelled together on a sketching tour of Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Valério made his Salon debut in 1838, at the age of nineteen. Active as a painter, engraver and draughtsman, he produced landscapes, genre scenes and military subjects. Although he lived in Paris, he was an inveterate traveller, and in the 1840s and 1850s made extensive tours of Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania, as well as the Balkans and Turkey. He made numerous studies of the exotic costumes of the people he saw on his travels, as well as genre scenes, and many of these were published in the form of albums of lithographs or etchings. During the Crimean War Valério was attached to the Ottoman army of Omar Pasha, and produced numerous drawings and watercolours of the conflict, notably the siege of Sebastopol. Valério exhibited at the Paris Salons between 1838 and 1879, and also showed a large group of watercolours at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855, to considerable acclaim. The artist spent much of his later years in Brittany, which he had first visited in 1843, and also spent some time in England before his death in 1879. The following year, a sale of some of the contents of his studio, including sixty paintings and numerous drawings, was held in Paris. As one modern scholar has written of Valério’s drawings, ‘En même temps qu'un type, chacun de ses personnages est une portrait. La main est légère, les formes harmonieuses, la ligne pure autant que la touche franche et spirituelle. C'est une riche moisson pour la grâce comme pour l'étrangeté, avec la saveur piquante de l'inconnu.’ An important group of drawings by Valério - numbering around one hundred pencil drawings and eighty watercolours, executed between 1851 and 1854 in Eastern Europe - was purchased by the State at the Exposition Universelle of 1855 and is today in the collection of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.