Henri Fantin-Latour

Roses thé dans une flute à champagne

Oil on canvas: 15(h) x 12.2(w) in /

38.1(h) x 31.1(w) cm

Signed and dated upper right: Fantin '73

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BS 306



Grenoble 1836 – 1904 Buré


Roses thé dans une flute à champagne


Signed and dated upper right: Fantin 73

Oil on canvas: 15 x 12 ¼ in / 38.1 x 31.1 cm

Frame size: 22 ½ x 19 ½ in / 57.2 x 49.5 cm



Edwin Edwards (1823-1879), London

Bryant, London

Galerie Bonjean, Paris

F and J Tempelaere, Paris

Alfred Strölin, Paris, by 1906

Victor Rollin, Malaunay

Galerie Etienne Bignou, Paris

Lockett Thomson, London

EJ van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, by 1956

HJ Blijdenstein, Enschede;

by descent to Miss HGW Blijdenstein, Enschede

Mrs Henriette Antoinette Polak-Schwarz, Amsterdam

The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre Ltd.), London

Private collection, USA, since circa 1990



Paris, Musée National du Luxembourg, Lithographies originales de Henri Fantin-Latour, June 1899, no.101

Paris, Palais de I’Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Exposition de l’oeuvre de Fantin-Latour, May-June 1906, p.49, no.101

Almelo, Kunstkring de Waag, Van Daumier tot Picasso, March-April 1956, p.28, no.43, fig. 10 

Amsterdam, EJ van Wisselingh & Co., Maîtres Français XIXe et XXe siècle, tableaux provenant de collections particulières néerlandaises, May-June 1962, no.18



Mme Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l’oeuvre complet de Fantin-Latour, 1849-1904, Paris 1911, p.76, no. 683


To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the paintings and pastels of Henri Fantin-Latour currently being prepared by Galerie Brame & Lorenceau



Roses thé was made in 1873, a year before the first Impressionist exhibition and a turning point in the career of Henri Fantin-Latour. Before that date he had painted rather elaborate still lifes with floral elements, such as the Nature morte dite ‘de fiançaille’, 1869 (Musée de Grenoble). From 1873 he concentrated on simpler arrangements, of which Roses thé is an exquisite example. Six roses are presented in a champagne flute against a soft, plain grey background. Balancing realistic description with the sensuous qualities of oil paint, Fantin studies each rose ‘as if it were a human face’, as the painter-critic Jacques-Emile Blanche put it. The pale pink roses have shadows of blush pink and buttermilk; the tight yellow buds have a glaze of green, emphasizing their vibrant, immature state. Fantin paints the leaves with brio: on the right the swordlike edge of a leaf catches the light, its shape executed in a couple of swift brushstrokes. The leaves and water within the flute are painted with a virtuosity that recalls the swift brilliance of Manet’s floral studies.


The first owner of this work was Edwin Edwards, an English lawyer and amateur artist whom Fantin had met through Whistler on his visit to London in 1861. Edwards and his wife Ruth acted as his agents in Britain. Fantin’s floral still lifes of roses proved particularly popular there, thanks to a sophisticated horticultural industry and the Victorian obsession with rose growing. As a result, although French public collections have fine examples of Fantin’s portraits, mythological paintings and other floral still lifes, his rose paintings are rare in the country of his birth, many remaining in English private collections[1].



Grenoble 1836 – 1904 Buré



Henri Fantin-Latour painted sensitive portraits and subject pictures, but is chiefly renowned today for his outstanding flower still lifes, which were especially popular in England and America. He was born in Grenoble in 1836, the son of the portrait painter Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour and his Russian wife Helène de Naidenoff. Henri studied with his father, with Lecoq de Boisbaudran, and in Courbet’s studio in 1861. He copied works in the Louvre, gaining a lifelong respect for the European Old Master tradition, especially Titian’s use of colour and Chardin’s painterly still-lifes. Fantin met Manet in 1857 and exhibited at the 1863 Salon des Refusés, but eschewed the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, preferring the Salon, where he exhibited from 1861 to 1899. Although on good terms with the Impressionists, he was wary of the excesses of the avant-garde.


In 1858 Fantin encountered Whistler and subsequently made four trips to England. On his second visit, in 1861, he was taught to etch by Whistler’s brother-in-law Seymour Haden and met Ruth and Edwin Edwards, who were to become Fantin’s agents in England, building up a market for his still-lifes in that country. Fantin executed a series of incisive self-portraits in the second half of the 1850s. From 1864 he produced a series of group portraits which serve as Fantin’s ‘professions of faith’ in contemporary art and culture. They depict writers and artists in works such as Studio in the Batignolles (Musée d’Orsay, Paris), shown at the Salon in 1870, which brings together Zola, Monet and Renoir in the studio of Manet.


Fantin’s flower still lifes combined harmony of composition and acute observation of the structure of plants with rich, painterly brushwork. He preferred to paint his blooms in the studio against a plain background which emphasized their tranquil, poetic beauty. Jacques-Emile Blanche wrote: ‘Fantin studied each flower, each petal, its grain, its tissue, as if it were a human face’. In 1876 he married his pupil Victoria Dubourg (1840-1926). The couple spent their summers at Victoria’s family home at Buré in Normandy, where the abundant garden inspired Fantin to more informal and lavish still lifes.


A lifelong music lover (his wife was a fine musician), Fantin was inspired by Berlioz and Wagner, whose lush Romanticism and complex, mythic themes provided subjects for the Symbolist aspect of his art. His lithographs of scenes from The Ring were reproduced in Adolphe Jullien’s biography Richard Wagner (1888). Henri Fantin-Latour died at Buré in 1904.









[1] See Paris, Musée du Luxembourg/Musée de Grenoble, Fantin-Latour à Fleur de Peau, 2016-17, exh. cat. by Laure Dalon, p.130.

ImpressionistHenri Fantin-Latour