FANTIN-LATOUR, Henri
(b. 1836, Grenoble, d. 1904, Orne)

Biography

French painter and printmaker. He studied with his father, Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1805-1875), from 1846 and then with Horace Lecocq de Boisbaudran (1802-1897) at the Petite École de Dessin in Paris from 1850 to 1856. His apprenticeship was based on copying the Old Masters before beginning to study from nature. He had a growing enthusiasm for the Italian painters, particularly Titian and Veronese, whom he copied in the Louvre from 1852. The Dream (1854; Grenoble, Musée Grenoble) is one of the first of a series of imaginary scenes in which Fantin-Latour concentrated on the theme of vision, which he later continued in his representations of scenes from various operas. He met François Bonvin and Félix Bracquemond in 1853 and went to the École des Beaux-Arts in 1854, but he left before the end of the year. He began to paint the life around him and did a series of self-portraits from 1854 to 1861, such as Self-portrait Seated at the Easel (1858; Berlin, Alte Nationalgalerie) and Self-portrait (1859; Grenoble, Musée Grenoble).

Though he associated with progressive artists (Gustave Courbet, Eugène Delacroix, Édouard Manet), he was a traditionalist best known for his portraits and still-lifes with flowers. His portrait groups, reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch guild portraits, depict literary and artistic persons of the time; his flower paintings were especially popular in England, thanks to James McNeill Whistler and John Everett Millais, who found patrons to support him. His later years were devoted to lithography.



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