Nature morte

French artist Ignace Henri Jean Fantin-Latour was born on January 14, 1836. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and honed his skills by copying masters at the Louvre. While working there, he became friends with several luminaries of the Impressionist movement, including Degas, Morisot, and Manet although he never embraced their style or ideas. The American James McNeill Whistler took Fantin-Latour to London where he fit in as an accomplished painter of still-lives, through which he supported himself financially. This allowed him to devote time to creative lithographs based on classical music. Fantin-Latour is also famous for group portraits, such as Hommage à Delacroix, which became important records of the artistic headliners of the day. In 1869 he received the Légion d’honneur. Fantin-Latour died of Lyme disease on August 25, 1904.

                The equivalent of still-life in French is nature morte (natoor morte) or “dead nature.” It sounds more morbid than poetic, which is unusual for the language of the gods.  Fantin-Latour’s flower still-lives are as far from dead as can be; they positively glow with life.


About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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