A disciple of both Renoir and Bonnard, the influences of both masters’ are evident in his oeuvre. Painting in a true post-Impressionist manner, Malherbe’s work is soft, fluid and subtly colored. He uses a strange technique reminiscent of Pointillism yet employing short stripes of color rather than dots to achieve the desired effects. Born at Seulis in the Oise Valley in 1884 it is unclear as to whether he received a formal art education. In 1921 he was invited to show at the prestigious Salon d’Automne and as a result of this exposure met the famed art critic and poet, Georges Kahn. It is likely that it was Kahn who introduced Malherbe to the greatest dealer of his day, Durand Ruel who gave Malherbe a one-man show in 1929. The same year saw him exhibit at the Galerie der Avenue de Friedland in Paris. Although primarily a painter of figurative subjects, he also painted a number of floral compositions handled with the same degree of expertise. In 1939 he moved to the United States settling in a rural part of Vermont. In 1948 he produced work for a major show at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris, such was the success of this exhibition that he decided to return to Paris the following year. William Malherbe died in Paris in 1951.
A painting by Malherbe entitled ‘La Lecture’ is housed at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.