Henri Fantin Latour
"La Toilette 1904"
Grenoble 1836 – 1904 Buré
Oil on canvas
73 x 60 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, Belgium; auct. Eric Pillon Encheres Versailles, no. 9, 13 December 2015; collection Lifschitz, Paris.
Literature: Madame Fantin Latour, Catalogue d ’l oeuvre complet de Fantin Latour, Paris, 1911, no. 2121, p. 224.
Ignace Henri Jean Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) started drawing at an early age, taught by his father, then, from 1850 through 1854 studied drawing at the school of Lecoq de Boisbaudran. After a short period at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he worked temporarily at Courbet's studio. From 1853 onwards he regularly copied works by the old masters in the Louvre, as well as paintings by Delacroix in the Musée du Luxembourg, and for 12 years lived mainly by copying.
He met Degas, Manet and Berthe Morisot in the Louvre between 1855 and 1858. In 1858, Henri Fantin-Latour became friends with Whistler and the two artists, along with Alphonse Legros, formed the Société des Trois. In 1859, Whistler invited him to visit London, where through Alphonse Legros and the amateur engraver Edwin Edwards he became associated with the artistic milieu of the English capital, and in 1864 exhibited at the Royal Academy. In London he was especially popular for his flower pieces, which he began to paint in the same year.
At the end of his life, he painted La Toilette (1904). In the middle we see a beautiful white nude, surrounding by three figures. It is like he is painting his dreams on canvas. The color and the mysterious mood that Fantin-Latour manages to give in these subjects, make this painting one of the most representative of this artist.