Born in St Etienne in 1876, he trained at the Ecole Municipale de Beaux-Arts et des Arts Decoratifs in Bordeaux, Saint-Etienne and Lyon. Valette arrived in England for unknown reasons in 1904 and possibly studied for a short time at the Birkbeck Institute, now part of the University of London. In 1905 he travelled to the North West of England where he designed greetings cards and calendars for a Manchester printing company. He attended evening classes at Manchester Municipal School of Art. He was invited to join the staff as a teacher from 1905 – 1906. His French teaching style, painting by demonstration, was new to the United Kingdom.
Lowry expressed great admiration for Valette, who taught him new techniques and showed him the potential of the urban landscape as a subject. He called him “a real teacher … a dedicated teacher”. Lowry added: “I cannot over-estimate the effect on me of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette, full of French impressionists, aware of everything that was going on in Paris.
In 1920 Valette resigned from the Institute owing to ill health. He stayed in Lancashire for eight more years, teaching privately and painting in Manchester. In 1928 he returned to Blacé en Beaujolais where he died in 1942.