Laval was involved in the early period of the Pont-Aven School, which was then in Le Pouldu. In 1887, he accompanied his friend Gauguin to Martinique and Panama, where he fell gravely ill and tried to kill himself. Gauguin saved him and put him into the care of Émile Bernard, to whose sister Laval became engaged. In 1889, Laval exhibited work at the Volpini restaurant alongside Gauguin, Anquetin and others. In 1890, Laval and his wife Madeleine went to Cairo, where he died of tuberculosis four years later, followed shortly afterwards by his wife. Laval was never satisfied with his work and few of his paintings survived. Today, works by Laval are in included in numerous collections including the Van Gogh Museum.