Oil on canvas: 46,4 x 36,5 cm
Signed and dated top left: Fantin Oct. 1861
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Henri Fantin-Latour was a French painter, printmaker, and illustrator noted for his still lifes with flowers and his portraits, especially group compositions, of contemporary French celebrities in the arts.
Fantin-Latour’s first teacher was his father, a well-known portrait painter. Later, he studied at the school of Lecoq de Boisbaudran and attended the École des Beaux-Arts. He exhibited at the official French Salons, but in 1863 he also showed his work in the rebel Salon des Refusés.
Although academic in manner, Fantin-Latour was independent in style. He had numerous friends among the leading French painters of his day, including J.-A.-D. Ingres, Eugène Delacroix, Camille Corot, Édouard Manet, and Gustave Courbet. His portrait groups, often arranged in rows of heads and figures like 17th-century Dutch guild portraits, are perhaps most interesting for their portrayal of various literary and artistic persons of the time.
Fantin-Latour’s flower paintings were particularly appreciated in England, where, through James McNeill Whistler and Sir John Everett Millais, Fantin-Latour found a patron in Edwin Edwards. A wealthy amateur engraver, he supported Fantin-Latour for years by purchasing his still lifes.