- Henri Fantin-Latour
- Panier de roses
- Signed Fantin and dated 80 (upper right)
- Oil on canvas
- 20 3/4 by 25 1/2 in.
- 52.7 by 65.1 cm
Mrs. Edwin Edwards, London
J. Cabruja, Paris (sold: Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 20, 1921, lot 13)
F. & J. Tempelaere, Paris
Eugène Cremetti, London
James Connell & Sons, Glasgow
Thomas Guthrie Brownlie, Glasgow (acquired from the above in April 1925)
Mrs. R. W. Millar (by descent from the above and sold: Christie's, London, June 27, 1988, lot 6)
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner
Mme Fantin-Latour, L'Oeuvre complet de Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1911, no. 999, p. 103
Fantin-Latour painted this still-life of a basket of roses for his most important patron, Mrs. Edwin Edwards. Throughout the 1890s, Mrs. Edwards commissioned several pictures of floral arrangements from the artist, many of which depict the lush bouquets of mixed flowers. This picture, with its crispness and startling realism, demonstrates the best of the artist's expertise in this area. Around the time he completed this work in 1880, Fantin-Latour had grown weary of this motif and longed to return to portraiture, a genre which had been an important part of his early career. His patrons like Edwards, however, felt differently. Until his death in 1904 and at the behest of his clients Fantin continued to paint dozens of compositions of bud vases and elaborate bouquets, all which have come to define his career as an artist.
Because of the extraordinary eye for detail that he had developed as a portrait painter, the artist was capable of seeing each flower with remarkable specificity. According to Edward Lucie-Smith, "His belief, academic in origin, that technique in painting was separable from the subject to which the artist applied it, enabled him to see the blooms he painted not as botanical specimens, but as things which, though not necessarily significant in themselves, would generate significant art upon the canvas. At the same time, the naturalist bias of the milieu in which he had been brought up encouraged him to try and give a completely objective description of all the nuances of colour and form which he saw in the bouquet he had arranged" (Edward Lucie-Smith, Henri Fantin-Latour, New York, 1977, pp. 22-23).