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


Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)
signed and dated 'Fantin.85' (lower left)
oil on canvas
12¾ x 19½ in. (32.4 x 49.5 cm.)
Painted in 1885
Mrs Edwin Edwards, London.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 4 July 1913, lot 93.
F. & J. Tempelaere, Paris, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Lintillac, Vichy.
Albert Dubosc, Sainte-Adresse.
The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre), London, by 1950.
Scott & Fowles, New York.
Acquired from the above by Mrs Monique Uzielli in 1951.
Mme Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l'oeuvre complet de Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1911, no. 1217, p. 125.
Grenoble, Musée-Bibliothèque, Centenaire de Henri Fantin-Latour, August - October 1936, no. 146 (titled 'Roses dans un pot de grès').
Glasgow, Ian MacNicol Galleries, Fantin-Latour, June 1950, no. 4.
London, The Lefevre Gallery, XIX century French Masters, July 1950, no. 9.
New York, Scott & Fowles, Fantin-Latour, Flowers, Fruits, Figures, March - April 1951, no. 17 (illustrated).
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Adrienne Dumas
Adrienne Dumas

Lot Essay

Galerie Brame et Lorenceau will include this painting in their forthcoming Catalogue raisonné des peintures et pastels de Fantin-Latour.

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, Henri Fantin-Latour, already celebrated as one of the foremost exponents of still life painting, became best known for his paintings of roses. This owed much to the enormous popularity of roses at this time, particularly in England where Fantin's flower-pieces were both greatly admired and much sought after (see D. Druick & M. Hoog, Fantin-Latour, exh. cat., Ottawa, 1983, p. 266).

Painted in 1885, most likely at his wife's country home at Buré in Normandy, Roses shows the extent to which Fantin's still lifes had evolved from his earlier more complex arrangements of flowers to a more simplified, understated aesthetic involving subtle colour harmonies of creamy whites, dusty pinks, soft yellows and oranges. Here, the roses are skillfully painted in a variety of life-cycles, from fresh, luxuriant new blooms to more faded petals, highlighting not just their beauty, but their very transience. Fantin has situated the flowers against a typically muted background and placed them within a simple and summarily painted receptacle so as not to 'distract the attention to be paid to the flowers' (Fantin, quoted in ibid.). The dexterity with which Fantin was able to replicate the soft textures and complex structure of the rose was frequently remarked upon. The artist and critic Jacques-Émile Blanche declared that, 'it is in his roses that Fantin has no equal.' He went on to detail just why this was so: 'The rose - so complicated in its design, contours, and colour, in its rolls and curls, now fluted like the decoration of a fashionable hat, round and smooth, now like a button or a woman's breast - no one understood them better than Fantin. He confers a kind of nobility on the rose'(J.-É. Blanche, quoted in ibid., pp. 265-66). Roses is a superbly observed and beautifully rendered flower-piece that illustrates clearly why Fantin earned his reputation as the preeminent painter of roses. It is fitting that a variety of rose, the 'Fantin-Latour' rose now bears his name.

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