Monday, August 5, 2013

Fantin-Latour, Henri

Marie-Yolande de Fitz-James 
oil on fabric
50.2 x 42.2 cm
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, USA

This is the portrait commissioned by the Duke of Fitz-James. His method of presenting the Duke’s 12-year-old daughter against a neutral background is reminiscent of the old master paintings he copied on visits to the Louvre.

Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 - 1904) was a French painter who is best known for his flower paintings and group portraits of his friends Parisian artists and writers. He was particularly renowned for his highly controlled style of delicate, meticulously detailed still-life and flower paintings. He often spent his summers painting floral still life-s with his wife, also an artist. He reportedly produced more than 800 flower paintings in response to the tremendous demand for such works in France and Britain.

Although he 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. He exhibited with the Impressionists but never shared their passion for outdoor painting. But his paintings inspired by imaginative themes, revealing his romantic passion for Wagner, Berlioz and Schumann, strongly influenced the symbolist movement of the late 19th Century.

He died of lyme disease and was interred in the Cimetiere du Montparnasse, Paris, France. In 1879 He was awarded the Legion d’Honneur medal. Marcel Proust mentions Fantin-Latour's work in In Search of Lost Time.