Roses in a Glass Vase
Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836–1904)
42.54 x 37.78 cm (16 3/4 x 14 7/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Not On View
Fantin was the late 19th-century’s undisputed master of the rose. Here a rough, scumbled background offsets the delicacy and fleshy softness of these overblown blossoms, so real we can almost smell their perfume. A devoted student of the old masters, Fantin spent many hours in his early career copying 17th-century Dutch still lifes at the Louvre, and yet his compositions remain unmistakably of their own time, almost photographic in their ambition to arrest a momentary sensation.
signed lower right: Fantin 90
Probably from the artist to Elizabeth Ruth (Mrs. Edwin) Edwards (b. about 1833 - d. 1907), London [see note 1]. 1906, Ferdinand Dreyfus (b. 1849 - d. 1915), Paris [see note 2]. César de Hauke (b. 1900 - d. 1965), Paris. Galerie Hector Brame, Paris. Desmond Robinson, London. 1965, with Frost and Reed, London [see note 3]. April 15, 1970, anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 3, to the Lefevre Gallery, London, for £27,000; 1970, sold by Lefevre to a private collector, Paris [see note 4]. July 1, 1974, anonymous sale, Christie's, London, lot 10, to Alice A. Hay (d. 1987), New York; 1987, bequest of Alice A. Hay to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 24, 1987) NOTES:  Information on provenance is taken from the 1970 Lefevre Gallery catalogue (see below, n. 4) and the 1974 Christie's auction catalogue. Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Edwards were friends of Fantin-Latour and acted as dealers for him in England.  He lent this painting to the "Exposition de l'Oeuvre de Fantin-Latour" (Paris, May-June, 1906), cat. no. 82.  According to a label affixed to the reverse of the painting. It was probably not a part of the gallery stock, but rather went to Frost and Reed for restoration or framing work.  According to correspondence from Jodie Waldron of the Lefevre Gallery (August 24, 2006). The painting was included in the exhibition "XIX & XX Century French Paintings" (Lefevre Gallery, London, November 12 - December 19, 1970), cat. no. 7. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: In 1947, a painting by Fantin-Latour of a "bouquet of roses in a glass" was listed among the objects that had been seized by the Nazis from the collection of Jean-Ferdinand Dreyfus of Paris during World War II and had not yet been returned. See Bureau Central des Restitutions, Répertoire des Biens Spoliés en France Durant la Guerre, 1939-1945, vol. 2, Tableaux, tapisseries, et sculptures (Berlin, 1947), p. 230, no. 5128: "Bouquet de roses dans un verre". It is possible, though not certain, that the MFA painting belonging to Ferdinand Dreyfus in 1906 was passed down to a relative named Jean-Ferdinand and that this is the work of art in question. However, the cultural property claim application of Jean-Ferdinand Dreyfus does not list any painting by Fantin. This claim is on file at the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD, Record Group 260 (Microfilm Publication M1949, Roll 16), Claim no. F049B. There is no indication that the MFA painting passed through any of the collecting points established by Allied forces after World War II for the purpose restituting looted works of art. Jean Mendelson, Director of Archives, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, Paris, stated in a letter (December 21, 2006) that the archive of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs possesses no documentation indicating that this painting was looted, and indeed, that the only such indication is the listing in the Répertoire des Biens Spoliés. Research is ongoing to determine whether the MFA painting was seized by Nazi forces during World War II and, if so, whether it was restituted to its rightful owner.
Bequest of Alice A. Hay