Henri Fantin-Latour

Roses

Oil on canvas: 16(h) x 13(w) in /

40.6(h) x 33(w) cm

Signed lower right: Fantin

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BV 116

 

HENRI FANTIN-LATOUR

Grenoble 1836 – 1904 Buré

 

Roses

 

Signed lower right: Fantin

Oil on canvas: 16 x 13 in / 40.6 x 33 cm

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

 

Painted in 1899

 

Provenance:

Gustave Tempelaere, Paris

Allard & Noël, Paris

M Henri Darrasse Collection;

his estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 6th December 1909, lot 38 (FFr. 6,000 to Javal);

Javal

Gimpel Fils, London

Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., by 1953;

from whom acquired by a private collector, Canada;

by descent

 

Literature:

Mme Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l’oeuvre complet de Fantin-Latour, 1849-1904, Paris 1911, p.189, no.1772

 

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

 

Henri Fantin-Latour painted roses for most of his career, finding a market for them in an era when the rose was the romantic flower par excellence and when enthusiastic horticulturalists in both France and Britain were competing to create more and more new varieties. After he married his pupil Victoria Dubourg (herself a fine flower painter) in 1876, Fantin had access to her family’s lavish garden at Buré in Normandy, where the couple spent summers.

 

Fantin preferred to study his flowers in the tranquillity of the studio, placing them against a plain though textured background of grey-brown, as here, to focus attention on the beauty and complexity of the blooms. In this painting he chooses roses which range from a deep burgundy to blood-red, to shell pink, to yellow and finally pure white, set in an elegant Champagne flute. The flowers and leaves are depicted with a fluidity and sensitivity borne of decades of honing his skill. The artist-dandy Jacques-Emile Blanche commented: ‘it is in his roses that Fantin has no equal. The rose – so complicated in its design, contours, and colour, in its rolls and curls, now fluted like the decoration of a fashionable hat, round and smooth, now like a button or a woman’s breast – no-one understood them better than Fantin. He confers a kind of nobility on the rose’[1].

 

Before 1909 this painting was owned by Henri Durasse, whose collection included twelve works by Fantin, as well as paintings by Boudin, Corot, Daumier, Helleu and Rousseau.

 

 


HENRI FANTIN-LATOUR

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] Quoted in Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Fantin-Latour, 1983, pp.265-66.

ImpressionistHenri Fantin-Latour