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Henri Fantin-Latour

Display of Enchantment


Henri Fantin-Latour
Grenoble 1836 – Buré, France, 1904


Display of Enchantment




Oil on canvas


98.5 x 131.5 cm


Purchase, John W. Tempest Fund, inv. 1936.658


Western Art

According to the artist’s widow, this ambitious canvas represents “a young fairytale princess,” who “descends the steps of a fantasy palace and sees before her a young prince charming with his retinue, offering her precious gifts.” What was considered the painting’s unfinished, sketchy appearance kept it out of the official exhibitions, but it was included in the famous Salon des Refusés in 1863, alongside avant-garde works by such artists as Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro and the American James McNeill Whistler, who became the owner of this picture. Although he exhibited with the Impressionists, Fantin-Latour objected to the label and drew from many different sources. He infused this canvas with a uniquely mysterious and dramatic atmosphere inspired by the music of Richard Wagner, which he encountered in 1857. Wagner’s operas were hugely influential in artistic circles in the late nineteenth century.

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