Henri Fantin-Latour

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Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 – 25 August 1904) was a French painter and lithographer best known for his flower paintings and group portraits of Parisian artists and writers.[1]



He was born Ignace Henri Jean Théodore Fantin-Latour in Grenoble, Isère. As a youth, he received drawing lessons from his father, who was an artist.[2] In 1850 he entered the Ecole de Dessin, where he studied with Lecoq de Boisbaudran.[2] After failing the exams for admission to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1854, he devoted much time to copying the works of the old masters in the Louvre.[2] Although Fantin-Latour befriended several of the young artists who would later be associated with Impressionism, including Whistler and Manet, Fantin's own work remained conservative in style.[2]

Whistler brought attention to Fantin in England, where his still-lifes sold so well that they were "practically unknown in France during his lifetime".[2] In addition to his realistic paintings, Fantin-Latour created imaginative lithographs inspired by the music of some of the great classical composers.

In 1875, Henri Fantin-Latour married a fellow painter, Victoria Dubourg, after which he spent his summers on the country estate of his wife's family at Buré, Orne in Basse-Normandie, where he died of lyme disease.

He was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, France

Marcel Proust mentions Fantin-Latour's work in In Search of Lost Time:

Many young women's hands would be incapable of doing what I see there,' said the Prince, pointing to Mme de Villeparisis's unfinished watercolours. And he has asked her whether she had seen the flower painting by Fantin-Latour which had recently been exhibited. (The Guermantes Way)


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