Henri Fantin-Latour

French Painter and Printmaker (1836-1904)

Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 – 25 August 1904) was a French painter and lithographer, best known for his flower still-life paintings and group portraits of Parisian artists and writers.

Fantin-Latour, 1861: 'Henri Oulevay et Fantin-Latour (right)', oil-painting; location unknown

Quotes of Fantin-Latour

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes of Fantin-Latour
Fantin-Latour, 1879: 'Flowers Large Bouquet with Three Peonies' oil-painting; private collection
  • I see Legros less often sometimes at Andler's as little as possible it means I get to bed late and I am short of funds, it is very pleasant nonetheless Courbet is so charming, Legros often goes there they get on very well he has some superb articles in the figaro. in the gazette des Beaux Arts.. ..then he will have one in the courrier du Commerce those are the ones I know about. success, women, good food, wine, beer, new acquaintances as a result of these articles, in short an accolade !!!!!!!!.. ..success can be harmful, it makes you relax, you sit on it and are distracted.. ..you alone should correct the faults, you know what I think of advice, correction. the gifted man should walk alone, straight to his goal, what happens is nothing, rejection, success, selling pleasing, all that is nonsense.
  • Well! according to the sketch your picture [which Whistler sent him in a letter] seems well-composed, the lines of sky, sea, the position of the figures all that seems very, very well done[,] on opening the letter it struck me immediately, an impression of decorative ornamentation which makes a good picture appeal to the eye as well - upside down and any other way up. Arrangement, layout, composition. etc - mysterious words harmonious laws - in no way conventional - needs of the Artist glory of the Raphael's Michelangelo's etc etc - for me a repetition a hesitation, a matter of feeling - which should also be a law, a mathematical thing, like form, like light, colour[.] I find similarities with the colour method which works by opposing colours to arrive at a harmony that is to say to make a canvas a complete whole, to put into a small space an image with all the forces all the principles of nature - [instead of showing a part of it]..
  • I even belief that the schools and artistic movements is past. After the Romantic movement, born of classicizing exaggeration, after the Realist movement, product of the follies of Romanticism, it may be seen that there is a great foolishness in all these ideas. We are going to achieve a personal manner of feeling.
    • quote in Fantin-Latour's letter to his English friend Edwin Edwards 14 April, 1866; as quoted by Colin B. Bailey, in The Annenberg Collection: Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-impressionism, publish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2009, p. 48
  • I do not understand your silence you know all the same how interested I always am in what you are doing. you also know that there are not many of us who understand each other we have always got on well together. I have seen and I see every day how little people like us[.] Between ourselves there are things we cannot say to others.. ..you cannot imagine how little I find myself in sympathy with other people.. ..- I do not want to lose another day, one hour this year I have no hope I have lost it and you know how unlike me that is. at the moment I have several studies to do at the Louvre order[s] which are going to bring me many others [p. 2] as soon as this time has passed I want to do two large pictures for the Salon[.] I think of nothing else.. .I am becoming more and more the Fantin of the old days you know here I am today but neither discouraged nor bored. I have my own views now nothing can distract me..
  • The oeuvre of Frédéric Bazille is unclassifiable.
    • quote of Henri Fantin-Latour; as quoted by Aleth Jourdan, Jean-Patrice Marandel, Dianne W. Pitman, et al., in Frédéric Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism, exh. catalog; Brooklyn Museum, New York 1992, p. 15

Quotes about Fantin-Latour

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes about Fantin-Latour
  • You speak to me of Rembrand, of this famous, of this great, of this giant.. .I would very much like to see the painting by Rembrandt of which you speak, because it should be quiet splendid. I eat it up from here (you know the fashionable phrase)
    • Alphonse Legros, in a letter to his friend Henri Fantin-Latour, 12 March 1858; as quoted by Alison McQueen, in The Rise of the Cult of Rembrandt: Reinventing an Old Master in Nineteenth-century France, Amsterdam University Press, 2003, p. 86
  • his flower-paintings.. ..are all marvels of colours and artistic sensibility. They are as compelling as they are charming, in fact one might even call them moving. They are tonal rhythms, freshness, abandon, surprising vivacity. Their beauty captivates. This is nature with all.. ..that fleeting radiance that is the fate of flower.. .Delicacy of expression being the essence of his art, Fantin seems to be the visual poet of flowers.
    • quote of Zacharie Astruc in 1863; as quoted by Colin B. Bailey, in The Annenberg Collection: Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-impressionism, publish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2009, p. 50

Quotes, 1850 - 1900

  • Dear Fantin.. .As for me nothing could be more charming for me than to be introduced to my Compatriots by Fantin - Besides you know that I am very flattered that you kept me when you destroyed the painting - it's much to be regretted all the same this demolition of our earlier works! I have done it too often! - and wept so much afterwards! Do not ever do it my dear Fantin - Now I would much like to know what is the portrait of me [made by Fanton-Latour] that you say Valentin has sold to this stranger?. - So try to find this out and let me know I beg you - If the American does not buy your portrait of me I could perhaps get it sold for you here..
  • Many young women's hands would be incapable of doing what I see there,' said the Prince, pointing to Mme de Villeparisis' unfinished watercolours. And he has asked her whether she had seen the flower painting by Fantin-Latour which had recently been exhibited.

From a letter of James Whistler, 1864

Quotes about; from a letter of James Whistler, Chelsea, Jan-Febr, 1864, to Fantin-Latour; from The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler - Library of Congress - Call Number: Manuscript Division, Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/33/15
  • (5 January.)..Oh if you could have listened in to the conversation you would have been beside yourself! Well then I cauterize their wounds once again! - And I had not forgotten during the evening to say 'And what is Fantin doing for you now?' 'Nothing at the moment.' - 'Oh, but what is the next copy he's doing for you? [Fantin-Latour made copies of old masters' paintings] 'I don't know' - 'But he's supposed to be doing something more for you isn't he! a Titian I thought?. 'No not now' - 'Oh I thought he was!' You see - As I leave, I invite Haden and his artist (a poor relation of the family) to dine with myself and Alphonse, for the Monday week - They accept! Much ceremony! and we wish each other good evening! - Ah! now Fantin my good friend light up your pipe!
    • quote 5 January, 1864
  • My dear Fantin two words more and then I shall send you this long affair - I have had your two letters and I was very pleased to get them - Your picture will be superb! The composition very fine, and I can see the heads painted by you in magnificent colour - The bust will perhaps be difficult to arrange - but I have the greatest confidence in you - Oh I wish I knew a little of what you know!..
    • 3 February, 1864
  • Meanwhile here is another order - You must do two flower pictures the same size, as those you have just done for Mr Ionides - You will get 150 frs for each - Do them straight away and you will have the money immediately - I wrote yesterday (on getting your letter) to Mr Ionides and Dilberoglou, asking them to send you the money that is 300 frs from one, and 100 frs from the other That makes 400 frs - you will receive it tomorrow - Now I must tell you - Do not spoil your fortunes which are rising, as you see, by a lower price for the large flowers - The point to start from is easy - 200 frs for the little ones (that is the price we shall ask after this next order) so for the large pictures the price is proportional. There must be a price for each size - I suppose that the large bunches we are talking about should be around 300 to 350 frs each - As for the Wedding in Cana - do not make it too big for the 1000 frs..
    • 3 February, 1864
  • Fantin your picture is going to be very fine - the great mass of light is excellent - It will do you a lot of good, as it's a picture which is bound to bring you a lot of attention - I should like to talk to you about myself and my own painting - But at this moment I am so discouraged - always the same thing - always such painful and uncertain work! I am so slow! - When will my execution be quicker when I say execution I mean something quite different - you understand - I produce very little, because I scrape off so much - for the Paris Salon I am thinking of sending my picture of the Thames which you saw one day with Edwards
    • 3 February, 1864

Quotes, after 1900

  • It should always be remembered that Fantin's still-lifes were made for a Victorian [English] public.. ..and that from his earliest visit to London he had been intrigued by the Pré-Raphaelites.
    • quote of Colin B. Bailey, in The Annenberg Collection: Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-impressionism, publish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2009, p. 56
    • Fantin-Latour sold most of his works in England
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