FANTIN, LATOUR, HENRI (1836-1904 French) Portrait of woman, framed pastel/conte crayon mounted to cardboard, signed lower right, approximate image size 9 3/4" x 8 1/4"a couple sm,all foxing marks, mat has even age toning, pastel itself seems to be in good condition, just a couple minor smudges. At the age of ten, Henri Fantin-Latour began painting with his father, Théodore Fantin-Latour (1805-1875). In 1850, he left Grenoble and moved to Paris to study
Encouraged by the renowned J.A.M. Whistler, whom he met in 1858 at the Louvre, Fantin-Latour made several trips to London from 1859 to 1881, where he exhibited at the Royal Academy. London collectors appreciated his still lifes, and he began accepting numerous portrait commissions from English patrons.
In an effort to become better known in France, Fantin-Latour also exhibited with his friend Edouard Manet and future impressionists Jean Renoir and Claude Monet. Unlike the realists and the impressionists, Fantin did not paint out of doors, as he preferred literary subjects, still lifes, and portraits that could be painted in his studio. In addition to portraits and still lifes, he made numerous paintings, and more than 150 prints that were fantasy works and dream visions, paving the way for symbolist artists. These works were inspired by allegorical and mythological subjects as well as motivated by contemporary Romantic German composers such as Schumann, Berlioz, and Wagner.
In November 1901, Fantin-Latour wrote: “Never again flowers or portraits. I amuse myself painting whatever comes to mind.” The present picture, which has been dated to 1902, is an example of the late imaginative works that the artist—freed from the necessity of painting portraits or commercial still-lifes—made at the end of his career. They were distinctive for their loose, spontaneous execution and delicate harmonies of color, in addition to their fantastical subject matter.