Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)

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Self-Portrait, 1859

Realist painter Henri Fantin-Latour is best known for his beautiful still life flower paintings, as well as group paintings of himself with other artists and historical figures. Latour was also heavily involved in lithography and painted in a highly traditional style, and painted nearly 25 self-portraits. It is said that Latour’s own Realist style was a major influence on the symbolist movement for future painters.

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The Reader, 1861

Born in Grenoble, France near the Alps, Latour was taught how to draw at a young age by his artist father. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and painted in an Impressionistic style in the beginning of his career. During this time, he would often visit the Louvre to study and copy the paintings of the old masters. There, he would meet and become friends with other famous artists like Manet and Degas.

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Portrait of Manet, 1867

Sadly, Latour did not get the initial recognition in Paris that he has today, probably because he was painting in the old style while his contemporaries were experimenting and creating new styles. However, Latour would eventually gain notoriety in England through American painter Whistler. With Whistler and artist Alphonse Legros, Latour formed the Societe des Trois, and would have his first exhibition with them at the Salon in Paris in 1861.

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Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, 1875

Besides painting, Latour was also fascinated with music. This fascination can be seen in his lithographs which express his love for his favorite composers, Wagner, Schumann and Brahms.

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Eau Forte, lithograph

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The Awakening, 1887, lithograph

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Manfred and Astarte, 1879

Latour would eventually meet and marry fellow painter Victoria Dubourg, whom he would instruct and essentially paint alongside.

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The Dubourg Family, 1878
  Dubourg focused mainly on floral still life, and her style would often mirror Latour’s.

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Basket of Flowers and Bouquet of Roses

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Nature Morte Aux Fiancailles

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Still Life with Flowers

When Latour was not creating floral still life and lithography, he would typically paint historical scenes dedicated to his artistic heroes. Latour would immortalize his favorite painters, particularly Delacroix and Rubens in a number of Realist paintings, many of which now hang in the Louvre.

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Homage to Delacroix, 1864

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Portrait with Friends, 1879

In 1879, Latour was given the Legion of Honor medal, and is remembered today as a great master of Realist painting in a time when Realism was going out of fashion. Latour’s paintings were so real at times, that they are practically photographic, and at other times contained a mystical property that only Latour could have created.

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The Queen of the Night

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Naiade, 1896

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Andromeda

Despite the fact that Latour met only relative success and recognition during his lifetime as a painter, today his paintings and lithography are in high demand. A new Latour art authentication, though probably rare, could fetch millions of dollars at auction today.

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Parsifal et les Filles-Fleurs, 1893

Latour left behind a number of drawings, etchings and oil paintings, in a number of different styles from Realist portraits to mythological sketches and floral still life’s. Sometimes he would sign his work “Fantin” although he is typically known as “Latour” or “Fantin-Latour.” Still not sure if one of your treasured family heirlooms is a Latour? Contact us to find out.