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Adolphe Valette

His students called him “Mr  Monsieur”. His devotees praised his unique vision of Manchester. His legacy is the most important in Manchester’s art history.

Adolphe Valette left a mesmerising series of impressionist views of Manchester; the fogs, the smogs, the industrial haze of the early 20th century. Born in 1876 in St Etienne, like Manchester, an industrial city, Valette arrived here in 1905 and soon began teaching at the Municipal School of Art where one of his students was none other than the young L S Lowry. His teaching style – sitting with his students and helping to improve their work directly with a flourish here and a touch there – was unique in Manchester at that time. The City Art Gallery has an excellent collection of Valette’s work, located in an upstairs room of the former Athenaeum, now part of the gallery itself, alongside a few Lowry paintings.

New Manchester Walks’ Valette tour, devised by John Alker, takes the experience further, taking you from the gallery to the locations the Frenchman painted as he explored the city: India House, Albert Square, All Saints and more, unveiling the story behind the canvas and the man behind the brush.