Grenoble 1836 – Buré, France, 1904
Oil on canvas
51.8 x 45.3 cm
Miss Olive Hosmer Bequest, inv. 1963.1401
Although Henri Fantin-Latour was an ambitious artist who dabbled in many genres, he is perhaps best known for his exquisite still lifes, of which this work is a prime example. In 1859, the American painter James McNeill Whistler, whom Fantin-Latour had met at the Louvre, persuaded the French artist to accompany him to London, where he was introduced to wealthy collectors, including Alexander Constantine Ionides and Edwin Edwards and his wife. The couple soon became friends of the painter and encouraged him to produce still lifes for the Anglo-Saxon market. In the 1860s, the artist was invited to show his work at the summer exhibitions of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and became a regular member of the Royal Institution, where he made an impression as a painter of indisputable talent. From 1864 to 1896, Fantin-Latour almost exclusively painted still lifes, favouring chrysanthemums, roses and peonies for his flower pictures.