Pencil and watercolour, watermark CIEAANNECY-AUSSEDATE
134 x 209 mm. (5 x 8 in.)
Marie-Lucie Nessi was the elder of two children from the marriage of Andr Nessi, a Swiss citizen from Locarno, and Hlne Koehne, born in Seesen in the Harz mountains of Germany. When she had completed high school, Marie-Lucie, then 16 years old, convinced her parents to allow her to attend drawing classes. After nearly two years of studying plaster antiquities, Marie-Lucie completed her training in the ateliers of Billoul and Andr Lhote, at the Acadmie de La Grande Chaumire and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. With her fellow students she spent many evenings in the company of Jacques Hlion, Kisling or Foujita, whom they used to meet in the cafs of Montparnasse. On holiday in Ouistreham, on the north coast of France near Le Havre, Marie-Lucie Nessi met Jean Valtat, only son of Louis Valtat. They were married on 5 April 1932.
Although her father-in-law Louis Valtat, encouraged her, Marie-Lucie Valtat hardly found time to paint, as she had to assist her husband, now Doctor Jean Valtat. Up till the declaration of war in 1939, Marie-Lucie and Jean used to take their summer holidays in an old second-hand Amilcar, touring most of the countries of Europe. Marie-Lucie brought back numerous watercolours from these trips. Since Dr. Valtat never had any other children, Caroline, Elisabeth and Louis-Andr are the only descendants of the painter Louis Valtat. In 1948, Jean Valtat, who had formed other attachments that drew him away from the family circle, decided on a complete and definitive break. He obtained a divorce in 1949, and henceforth Marie-Lucie and his children no longer existed for him. Obliged to look after the children's needs, Marie-Lucie Nessi started to produce ceramics, hoping to turn her artistic talents to profit. From 1958, thanks to the assistance of her mother-in-law Suzanne Valtat, who remained firmly attached to her, Nessi abandoned ceramics and at last gave herself entirely to painting.
In 1937 she won a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle. She participated in other exhibitions, in 1960 Joie de vivre New York; in 1989 New York and 1990 Palm Beach French Post Impressionists: The New Vanguard; in 1991 New York and Palm Beach, Paintings for Collectors, Wally Finlay Galleries.
Marie Lucie travelled a great deal during her life, across Europe, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. Her work was strongly influenced by Louis Valtat, and works in the tradition of the Post Impressionists. Her subjects included landscapes, still lifes and marines. These three watercolours are all of similar cattle in various poses in the countryside, are charming examples of her work.