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White and Pink Mallows in a Vase, 1895

Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour

French, 1836-1904
Oil on canvas
21x 19-1/2 in. (53.3 x 49.5 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Although Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour painted everything from somber group portraits to lively interpretations of Wagner’s operas, he was best known for his floral still lifes. He was close friends with Édouard Manet and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who introduced his work to England, where it would sell with as much success as it had in France. The present work is one of Fantin-Latour’s more casual compositions. The summer mallows, cut directly from his garden, are placed in a simple glass vase and have already begun to wilt. Their arrangement is informal, although still exquisitely painted, with the bright white and striated pinks of the blooming petals expertly rendered. Decorative devices and accessories are absent from the elegant tableau, leaving the focus entirely on the sweet summer still life.

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