Henry Valensi (1883-1960)


Henry Valensi was born on September 17, 1883 in Algeria. He is considered a major exponent of the second generation of abstract artists.

Moving to Paris in 1898 he studied at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris in the studios of Jules Lefebrve and Tony Robert-Fleury. Before World War I, Valensi travelled throughout Europe and in Russia, Turkey, and Greece. This voyage greatly inspired him. In 1912 he participated in the creation of the Section d'Or, along side the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Picabia, Dumont and Gleizes among others. During the war he was the peintre de l'Etat-Major du General Gourand and he collected many war documents that are now in the Musée de la Guerre de Vincennes. After the war he began traveling again in Europe and Africa. In 1923 Valensi exhibited in Rome, the introduction of the catalogue was written by Marinetti, Valensi was considered a French Futurist.

Valensi was the leader of the group of artists that he himself named the "Musicalistes." Painting during the 1930s through the 1950s, the "Musicalistes" interpreted the rhythms of music in two dimensions through abstract shapes. Valensi organized and participated in twenty-three Salon de Peinture Musicaliste exhibitions in Paris, the first one being in 1932 at Galerie Renaissance. He exhibited in the Salon des Orientalistes from 1905 and in the Salon des Indépendants in Paris from 1907.

Valensi also participated in many other Musicaliste exhibitions in cities across Europe such as Prague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Budapest, Bratislavia, and Limoges. After World War II he participated in the Salon des Realités Nouvelles in 1947 of which he later became the committee's vice-president.

A number of solo exhibitions were also held for Valensi in the early twentieth century such as at the Galerie la Boétie, in Paris in 1913 and an exhibition organized by Marinetti in 1923. A further retrospective of his work took place at the Galerie de l'Institut in Paris in 1957 and his work is represented in the Musée de l'Art Moderne. He died in 1960 at the age of 77.