Henri Fantin-Latour’s birth name was Ignace Henri Jean Théodore Fantin-Latour, in the city of Grenoble, France. His artistic education begun very young, his father, an artist, gave him drawing lessons. He entered the Ecole de Dessin, at age 14, studying with Lecoq de Boisbaudran, and then, at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, at this time, he invested much time to research and copy paintings of the old masters at the Museé du Louvre. Although a period where he befriended many painters associated with the Impressionist movement, including Claude Monet and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Latour’s style was still very conservative.
Fantin-Latour’s work sold very well in England thanks to Whistler, who brought attention to him there. His still-lifes sold so well in England that during his lifetime, they were practically unknown in France. He married Victoria Duborg, a fellow still-life painter, in 1875. Following their marriage, the couple went Normandy, where the climate allowed him to experience different species of flowers in bloom, expanding his scope of still-life subjects.
Although he continued to create still-lifes, in 1876, Fantin-Latour began to venture in lithography and explore its possibilities, which he applied, especially in creating mythological scenes and illustrate works made by his favorite composers. In the same year, the artist would exhibit some of the said paintings in the Salon.
In 1879, Fantin-Latour had his importance as an artist officially recognized, for he received the distinguished Legion d’honneur medal. He continued to exhibit his lithographs frequently until the end of his life. The couple of artists said to have settled above Henri’s studio, where they would live until their passing. They did not have any offspring.
Henri Fantin-Latour died in August 1904, and his wife passed away 22 years later.
Fantin-Latour is one of the most distinguished French artists of the 19th century, has influenced many artists. Scholars argue that the artist influenced the Impressionists and artists such as Gustave Caillebotte. With his mythological lithographs, he would help set the foundation for the development of the Symbolism, with Odilon Redon citing Fantin-Latour as one of his influences.