Giroflées et cerisier sauvage en fleurs, 1876
Edwin Edwards (1823 – 1879), London.
Felicity Dawson, London.
Her sale; Sotheby’s, London, 11 Dec. 1957, lot 128.
Dr W. Katz, Mayfair, acquired at the above sale on behalf of Mr and Mrs Francis Hock, London.
Private Collection, Switzerland; and by descent.
V. Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l’Oeuvre Complet de Henri Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1911, no. 753 bis.
V. Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l’Oeuvre Complet de Henri Fantin-Latour, 2nd ed., Amsterdam, 1969, p. 85, no. 782 (titled Fleurs).
J. Cosandier et. al, Fantin-Latour: La réalité au rêve, exh. cat., La Fondation de l’Hermitage, Lausanne, 2007, pp. 98, 184, no. 46 (illus. in colour).
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Fantin Latour, 1877, no. 74.
Lausanne, Fondation de l’Hermitage, Fantin-Latour: La réalité au rêve, 25 June – 28 Oct. 2007, no. 46.
This work is sold with a certificate of authenticity from Philippe Brame dated 1 October 1993, confirming that it will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné des peintures et pastels de Henri Fantin-Latour currently in preparation by Galerie Brame & Lorenceau.
The first owner of this painting was the British artist, lawyer and collector Edwin Edwards, who established close friendships with a number of French Impressionists including Fantin-Latour and helped to promote their work in Britain. He was especially enthusiastic about Fantin-Latour’s floral still lifes, and it is not surprising that he should have owned a fine example. Fantin-Latour painted a double portrait of Edwards and his wife the year before he painted Giroflées et cerisier sauvage en fleurs. The still life was lent to the 1877 Fantin Latour show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, presumably from the Edwards collection.
Giroflées et cerisier sauvage en fleurs was next owned by a Mrs. Felicity Dawson, about whom nothing further is known, and was offered in her sale at Sotheby’s in 1957 at which point it was acquired by Mr. and Mrs Francis Hock. The couple, also notable collectors, bequeathed a number of works to Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. As Fantin-Latour was already well represented in the collection by at least five other examples, however, the museum declined to accept Giroflées et cerisier sauvage en fleurs as part of the bequest. The painting has therefore had only three owners in its history which helps to account for its superb state of preservation. It has been exhibited only twice in public, first at the Royal Academy, and then more than a century later in Lausanne in 2007.
The composition is unusual in the presentation of the bouquet against a pale, stone-coloured ground instead of Fantin-Latour’s more commonly used dark ground. The cropping of the composition, which excludes the vase, focuses the viewer’s attention on the blossoms themselves and may be inspired by the vogue for japonisme at the time; asymmetrical placements, steep diagonals and the cropping of featured elements are all typical of Japanese prints.