French, 1836–1904

Henri Fantin-Latour

"The son of the painter Théodore Fantin-Latour, Henri Fantin-Latour initially worked under his father's direction before moving to study under Lecoq de Boisbaudran and Courbet. He joined the École des Beaux-Arts on 6 October 1854, making his Salon début in 1861. Even his earliest works reveal his talent as a draughtsman and colourist and his eye for charm and the ideal. He became friends with Manet in 1857, having met him at the Louvre, and in 1862 Manet portrayed him in his Music at the Tuileries. He also got to know Whistler during the latter's stay in Paris. In 1859, together with Manet, Whistler and other artists, Henri Fantin-Latour was rejected from the Salon. Following this rejection, he joined the group that exhibited with Bonvin and met at the Café Guerbois, a group of friends which he portrayed in his Studio in the Batignoles. Although he was accepted at the 1861 Salon, he was part of the first Salon des Refusés in 1863 and also exhibited at the Salon of the Brussels Société des Beaux-Arts in 1900. Fantin-Latour did not receive any official recognition until 1870, with his Studio in the Batignolles. In 1878 he was awarded a second-class medal for two portraits and in 1897 he was given the Légion d'Honneur.

Henri Fantin-Latour was one of the most sensitive painters of the second half of the 19th century. His technique was extremely soft and used a diffuse light. His portraits are wonders of grace, while his studio views give a superb impression of intimacy. His best paintings include Reading ( La Lecture), Homage to Delacroix and The Toast (1865). He also tried a wide variety of genres and handled portraits, genre paintings, flowers and allegorical paintings with equal mastery. He was also a superb pastellist and an extremely talented lithographer. A contemporary and friend of the Impressionists, he was more of a successor to Delacroix, although he showed his sympathy with the Impressionists' cause by painting portraits of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Delacroix, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Zola and Whistler.

Fantin-Latour himself is difficult to place. His situation at the end of the 19th century resembles that of Bonnard in the 20th century. Both of them liked to think of themselves as standing apart from the competition, mere painters, and accepting the condition that they would be judged solely by the quality of their work, regardless of their historical position in the development of the means of plastic expression. While still belonging to the Romantic movement, he painted visions of ethereal beings dancing in a fantastical landscape, preferring to exercise his imagination in the studio rather than to observe nature. Art history holds him in high esteem primarily for the peerless iconographic testimony of the many portraits he painted of his fellow painters and poets. Art enthusiasts liked him primarily for his many flower paintings, which they were quick to buy from a very early stage and which accounted for nearly all of his output between 1864 and 1896. Several exhibitions were organised after his death, including one at the Paris École des Beaux-Arts in 1906, and 'Hommes de Valeur': Henri Fantin-Latour, Odilon Redon en Tijdgenoten (and their Contemporaries) at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands, in 2002." (Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Gründ, 2006).

Museum Collections:
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Gallery, London
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton
Tate Gallery, London
The Royal Collection, London
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Please contact us if you are interested in selling your Henri Fantin-Latour paintings or other artwork from the 19th century and early 20th century. 

Paintings for sale


Henri Fantin-Latour Paintings Previously Sold

HENRI FANTIN-LATOUR  Nude   (1873) Oil on canvas 12 x 10 inches (30.5 x 25.4 cm.)  SOLD

Oil on canvas
12 x 10 inches (30.5 x 25.4 cm.)

HENRI FANTIN-LATOUR    Hommage à Delacroix   Oil on canvas 18¾ x 11 inches (29.5 x 27.7 cm.)  SOLD

Hommage à Delacroix
Oil on canvas
18¾ x 11 inches (29.5 x 27.7 cm.)