French Floral and Portrait Painter – Henri Fantin-Latour

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Henri Fantin–Latour was born in 1836 in Grenoble, France. As the son of an artist and art teacher, Fantin–Latour spent his childhood learning how to paint and draw under his father’s tutelage. This aspiring artist continued to hone his artistic skills at home, even after the family moved to Paris, until he was old enough to study professionally.

In the early 1850’s Henri Fantin-Latour found himself studying with many great artists such as Lecog de Boisbaudran. He was also privileged to study at many wonderful studios, one of which was the Ecole de Dessin. For several years he devoted himself to studying and copying the old painting masters in the Louvre. He worked hard to immerse himself in classic styles of painting, particularly from the Romantic period. During this time of study, Henri Fantin-Latour made numerous friends who encouraged his career and helped him achieve success as a well-known artist in both France and England.

Henri Fantin-Latour’s circle of artistic friends included Eugene Delacroix, Camille Corot, Edouard Manet, and Gustave Courbet. However, it was with the famous Whistler and Alphonse Legros that he formed the Societe des Trois in 1858. Whistler was the friend that encouraged Henri Fantin–Latour to make his way to England.

In London, Henri Fantin-Latour became associated with the social circles of the artistically-minded. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1864. London was where he started to paint his famous flower pieces. Henri Fantin-Latour was quite famous throughout England and there were many who supported his artistic career by purchasing his paintings. His success in England was such that he was virtually unknown in France during this time period.

When he returned to France, Henri Fantin-Latour joined the Societe des Aquafortistes. In 1861 he had his first exhibition at the Salon in Paris. It has been said that Henri Fantin-Latour left behind a magnificent gallery of Parisian celebrity personalities in the form of his group portraits. In 1879 he was awarded the Legion d’ Honneur medal.

Perhaps Fantin-Latour’s success was largely due to his independent nature. Though he was constantly surrounded by the Impressionist style, which many of his friends practiced, he remained true to his more conservative, Romantic style. He had an academic demeanor yet an independent approach to painting. Fantin-Latour never exhibited alongside his Impressionist friends and fellow painters. He was praised for the realistic aspects of both his group portraits and his flower paintings.

The subjects of his group portraits were primarily other artists in various fields of study. The rows of faces that Henri Fantin-Latour painted are believed to adequately represent the time period in which he lived as well as the colorful personalities of his day. It is a testament to Henri Fantin–Latour’s artistic talent that his knack for realism is still appreciated for its historical worth. This same realism is also apparent in his flower paintings; they have a certain attention to realistic detail that makes them truly memorable.

Some of Henri Fantin–Latour’s most famous group portraits include The Toast, painted in 1865, A Studio in the Batignolles, painted in 1870, At the Table, painted in 1872, and Round the Piano, painted in 1885. Interestingly, Henri Fantin–Latour also left behind twenty-three self-portraits. Henri Fantin–Latour’s style was incredibly delicate and imaginative, differing in ways from his realistic flower paintings and group portraits. His lithographs were greatly inspired by music. This style of art is essentially a printing process that involves ink being transferred from a flat surface, such as stone or metal, onto paper or another suitable material.

He enjoyed many of the great classical composers but was perhaps most influenced by Richard Wagner, whose music prompted him to create many imaginative drawings. In 1875 Henri Fantin–Latour married Victoria Dubourg, who was also a fellow artist. After his marriage, the French artist took to spending time at his wife’s family estate. It was there on the estate in the countryside that he passed away. Henri Fantin-Latour, a man who was both extremely academic and distinctly independent, left behind a gallery of paintings full of realism and imagination.

Our Segmation set of Fantin-Latour contain many examples of his floral paintings in still life renderings of flowers, roses, and fruit.

There are also numerous portraits including Marie-Yolande de Fitz James, Duchess Fitz James, Charlotte Dubourg, Two Sisters, Adolphe Jullien, Mr. and Mme Edwards, and several self-portraits.

This set contains 31 digital paintable patterns.

Be a Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC Henri Fantin-Latour – French Floral and Portrait Painter (see more details here)

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3 thoughts on “French Floral and Portrait Painter – Henri Fantin-Latour

  1. typosintheline

    I believe it is the 1872 At the Table/Au coin du table that shows the young symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud along with Paul Verlaine, but I did not realize, until I read this article, that painting flowers was one of Fantin-Latour’s particular fortés. Apparently, another French poet (I do not know who it was), who was present at the table, so objected to being pictured with Rimbaud that Fantin-Latour actually changed this other poet into a vase of flowers! Have you heard this story? It may be apocryphal — not sure, but your highlighting these two aspects of Fantin-Latour’s art certainly makes it more plausible. Thank you for this concise overview of his work.

    Reply

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