135
135

PROPERTY SOLD TO BENEFIT THE EUROPEAN PAINTINGS ACQUISITION FUND OF THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

Henri Fantin-Latour
AZALÉES ET BRUYÈRES
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
135

PROPERTY SOLD TO BENEFIT THE EUROPEAN PAINTINGS ACQUISITION FUND OF THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

Henri Fantin-Latour
AZALÉES ET BRUYÈRES
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Henri Fantin-Latour
1836 - 1904
AZALÉES ET BRUYÈRES
Signed Fantin. and dated 74 (upper left)
Oil on canvas
16 1/8 by 9 1/8 in.
42.5 by 22.2 cm
Painted in 1874. 
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This painting will be included in the catalogue raisonné of Fantin-Latour’s paintings and pastels by Galerie Brame & Lorenceau now in preparation.

Provenance

Edwin Edwards, London
Marchant Collection, London
J. Staats Forbes, London
Sale: Christie's, London, July 16, 1909, lot 105
Arthur Tooth & Sons, London (acquired at the above sale)
Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris
Knoedler & Co., London
Countess of Strafford, England (and sold: Sotheby's, London, July 9, 1958, lot 115c)
Arthur Tooth & Sons, London (acquired at the above sale)
W.A. Coolidge, London
Arthur Tooth & Sons, London
Viscountess Nancy Astor, London (and sold: Sotheby's, London, December 10, 1969, lot 8)
Arthur Tooth & Sons, London (acquired at the above sale)
Milena Jurzykowski, New York
A bequest from the above in 1971

Literature

Madame Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l'oeuvre complet de Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1911, no. 707

Catalogue Note

The present picture, with its exceptional crispness, demonstrates the power of Fantin-Latour’s exquisite still lifes. His depictions of flowers, fruit, crystal and porcelain number among the great examples of trompe l'oeil painting of the late nineteenth century. The earliest collectors of his work marveled at the extraordinary clarity and perfection of detail in these still lifes, which Fantin-Latour painted in the three decades preceding his death in 1904. Fantin-Latour's floral still-life paintings were first exhibited in London at the Royal Academy in 1864. 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. The incredible graphic blue and white vase of Azalées et bruyères adds richness to the scene while acting as a harbinger of the Japonsime which would become hugely influential upon Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and the Nabis (see fig. 1). Against a modern, flattened background saturated tones of pink and green highlight the artist's technical virtuosity as a colorist.  

Thanks to the extraordinary eye for detail he had developed as a portrait painter, the artist was capable of seeing each flower with remarkable specificity. According to the critic 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 color and form which he saw in the bouquet he had arranged" (Edward Lucie-Smith, Henri Fantin-Latour, New York, 1977, pp. 22-23). 

The present work was owned by the Viscountess Nancy Astor until 1969 (see fig. 2). Born in Danville, Virginia, the Viscountess moved to England at to marry Waldorf Astor following her divorce from Robert Gould Shaw III. Astor went on to became the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons in 1919, where she served until 1945.

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