Lot 4
  • 4

Henri Fantin-Latour

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  • Henri Fantin-Latour
  • Dahlias
  • Signed and dated Fantin. 72 (upper left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 17 1/2 by 14 5/8 in.
  • 44.5 by 37.2 cm


H. Graves, London

F. & J. Tempelaere, Paris

H. J. Laroche, Gand

M. Knoedler & Co., New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1947



Madame Fantin Latour, Catalogue de l'oeuvre complet de Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1911, no. 646, listed p. 73

Catalogue Note

This lovely bouquet of dahlias was painted by Fantin-Latour in 1872, just as his career as a painter of still-lifes was beginning to take off.   Although he began exhibiting his floral still-life paintings in London at the Royal Academy in 1864, it was not until the 1870s that he solidified his reputation as the key painter of this genre.  The paintings of the 1870s were marked by a purity and simplicity of composition, whereas the still-lifes of the 1880s were constructed with a more complex and detailed arrangement.  Urged on by the example and influence of James McNeill Whistler, Fantin began experimenting in the subtlest possibilities of chromatic harmonies, thus simplifying dramatically the structure of his pictures. He abandoned his earlier, more ambitious compositions in favor of the more classically understated flower compositions, particularly appreciated by English collectors in the 1880s.

In his review of the Salon of 1889, Zola described the artist's work as follows: "The canvases of M. Fantin-Latour do not assault your eyes, they do not leap at you from the walls. They must be looked at for a length of time in order to penetrate them and their conscientiousness, their simple truth - you take these in entirely, and then you return" (quoted in Edward Lucie-Smith, Henri Fantin-Latour, New York, 1977, p. 37).