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Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)

Roses roses

Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)
Roses roses
signed and dated 'Fantin 86' (upper left)
oil on canvas
16.5/8 x 15.1/8 in. (42.2 x 38.4 cm.)
Painted in 1886
Mrs Edwin Edwards, London.
Louis Huth, London; sale, Christie's, London, 20 May 1905, lot 91 (300 gns. to Obach).
Paul Rosenberg, Paris.
Alfred Wolf, South America, and thence by descent.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 29 November 1988, lot 34 (270,000).
Mme. Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l'Oeuvre complet de Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1911, p. 131, no. 1257, described as Roses.
Frankfurt, Kunstverein, Die klassische Malerei Frankreichs im XIX. Jahrhundert, 1912, no. 47.

Lot Essay

Roses roses epitomises Fantin's new approach to flower still-lifes, displayed in his elegant compositions of the mid 1880 - the culmination of a stylistic mode which he had commenced in the second half of the 1870s as a result of his encounter with a new British patronage, and notably with his English agents, Edwin and Ruth Edwards (see fig. 1). Purity and simplicity of composition are the cornerstones of his new method.

Urged on by the example of Whistler's contemporary 'symphonies', Fantin began experimenting in the subtlest possibilities of chromatic harmonies and consonances, thus simplifying dramatically the structure of his pictures. He abandoned his earlier, more ambitious compositions in favour of the more classically understated flower compositions, particularly appreciated by English collectors in the 1880s. Roses roses was among the still-lifes that the artist painted at Bur in Normandy, where the Fantins regularly spent their summers. Since the end of the 1870s, Fantin would, at the beginning of the autumn, meet Ruth Edwards, who, after her husband's death in 1879, had developed her own business acumen considerably. She acted as the artist's sole agent in England, and was capable of ensuring that each year Fantin's still-lifes appeared in numerous exhibitions in both England and Scotland.

This painting will be included in the catalogue raisonn of Fantin-Latour's paintings and pastels by Galerie Brame & Lorenceau now in preparation.

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