France • 1836−1904
Henri Fantin-Latour (fr. Henri Fantin-Latour; January 14, 1836, Grenoble - August 25, 1904, Bure) - French painter and lithographer, famous for his still lifes and group portraits of artists and musicians.

Features of the artist Henri Fantin-Latour: He masterfully painted floral still lifes, his brushes belong to about 800 canvases. Thanks to friendship with Whistler, found his audience and buyers for his paintings in England. In France he is better known as a portrait painter. He was friends with many Impressionists, although he himself worked in a realistic manner.

Famous paintings by Henri Fantin-Latour: "Dedication to Delacroix", "Portrait of Edouard Manet", "Atelier in Batignolle", Jubilee of the composer Hector Berlioz, "At the piano", "Poppies in a Vase".

Henri Fantin-Latour was born in the family of a portrait painter Jean-Theodor Fantin-Latour and Elena Naidenova, a Russian by birth - from the city of Orel. In 1841, the family moved from Grenoble to Paris, the head of the family hoped that the sale of paintings in the capital would be more successful.

His father soon noticed his son’s talent and became his first teacher - his studies consisted in copying engravings and lithographs. At the age of 15 in Paris, Henri entered the art school of Lecoque de Buabodran with innovative teaching methods: the students went outside, and then, from memory, drew everything they saw.

Louvre in the creative and personal life of Fantin-Latour

The Louvre for the artist was a special place. At 16, Henri Fantin-Latour came to copy paintings and was fascinated by the museum. He said: “Louvre! Louvre! Only the Louvre! The more you copy, the better. ”. Reproductions of old masters - Titian, Veronese and Van Dyck - became part of the training and brought a steady income for 12 years. Even Henri chose an apartment next to the Louvre on Arts Street, Building 8. Fantin-Latour lived there for 30 years, visiting his favorite museum almost daily.

In 1866 in the Louvre, the artist met Victoria Düburg - artist, pianist and future wife. The shy Henri was in fact already the “head” of the family - after the death of his mother in 1858, he cared for his sick father and sister Natalie, who was taken to life for a mental hospital for Sharaton mentally ill. They will marry only 10 years after the death of the father, and this marriage will be a happy union of like-minded people.

Own among strangers

Fantin-Latour is difficult to attribute to any artistic movement. He did not call himself a realist like Courbet, whose student he was. With the Impressionists he was connected more by friendship and ideological kinship than painting practice. He watched the artistic movements of the 19th century, without joining any of them. In the paintings of Fantin-Latour "Portrait of Alphonse Legros", "Chair by the window" you can see experiments with style: large unshaded strokes, emotionality, vividness of the portrait - this is a clear influence of the impressionists.

Portraits of people, portraits of flowers and absolute painting

His paintings were popular in England. Thanks to Whistler and amateur artist Edwin edwards, Fantin-Latour's flower still lifes were sold out like hot cakes, and the artist constantly received new orders. In France, he is known as a portrait painter - his restrained realistic paintings and group images of artists and musicians were warmly received by the public.

Despite the recognition, the artist dreamed of a new genre, of absolute painting, completely opposite to realism, which has "nothing to do with life." He called his experimental compositions "imaginary plots" (1, 2, 3). These are paintings with fantastic and mythological scenes in which figures are naked or dressed in colorful clothes, with indistinct contrasts of light and shadow, sometimes elements on the canvas dissolve and it is difficult to discern what the painter painted in his imagination and on the canvas.

Often this is a picture of the plots of musical works (1, 2) - The artist was a passionate fan of music. He called Wagner, Schumann, Berlioz, Brahms "composers of the future" and was inspired by their music: “If I were a musician, I would have written like them, but alas”

In the last years of his life, Fanten-Latour paid great attention to lithography, in which he became interested in 1862. Then his works were considered too revolutionary, and the artist resumed his work in this genre several years before his death in 1904.

Author: Alexandra Berezhnaya
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