Fantin-Latour


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Fantin-Latour

(Ignace) Henri (Joseph Th?odore) . 1836--1904, French painter, noted for his still lifes and portrait groups
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As often happens, the lure of a steady income grew irresistible and between 1864 and 1896 Fantin-Latour painted over 800 floral pictures; Sutton notes that in 1872 alone he turned out 45 of them.
In the first place, Fantin-Latour had less time than he might have wished for any other work and secondly his reputation both then and since has rested on what always threatened to become the visual equivalent of potboilers.
Melancholic in youth and inclined to misanthropy in later life, Fantin-Latour was conscious that the most commercial strand of his output overshadowed everything else.
Music, for example, painted in 1880, shows a half-nude female inscribing on a wall the names of Fantin-Latour's favourite composers: Schumann, Berlioz, Wagner, and Brahms.
Now the least known part of his oeuvre, these pictures were during Fantin-Latour's lifetime also the least critically appreciated, a charge being that they owed too great a compositional debt to the Old Masters he had studied in the Louvre as a young man.
Bridget Alsdorf has written a fluent, carefully considered book about a genre of painting that Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) made his own: group portraits of artists.
Staying admirably close to the paintings and the preparatory drawings for each, Alsdorf exposes many of the contradictions that linger around Fantin-Latour's oeuvre, often signaling these in crisply aphoristic terms.
Painting Flowers: Fantin-Latour And The Impressionists showcases around 30 of his works, alongside paintings by Renoir, Courbet, and Fantin-Latour's wife Victoria Dubourg, among others.
From the 1860s, Fantin-Latour began developing his powers of observation, experimenting with colour, texture, form and composition in his still life paintings.
Invited to London by Whistler, Fantin-Latour was introduced to Edwin Edwards and his wife Ruth, who bought many of his still life paintings in the years that followed.
"Whereas England's nouveau riche were happy to have pleasant pictures to decorate their homes, so in that respect Fantin-Latour was very much in the right place at the right time.
In 1876, Fantin-Latour and his wife spent their first summer at Bur in France, a house inherited from her uncle.