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
Acquired from the artist by Elizabeth Ruth Edwards (b. about 1833 - d. 1907), London [see note 1]. By 1906, Ferdinand Dreyfus (b. 1849 - d. 1915), Paris [see note 2]; by descent to his son, Jean Ferdinand-Dreyfus (b. 1888 – d. 1962), Paris; 1942, probably confiscated from Jean Ferdinand-Dreyfus by Nazi forces and, between 1947 and 1962, recovered by the Dreyfus family [see note 3]; January 23, 1962, sold by C. F. Dreyfus (Claude Ferdinand Dreyfus) and R. Schwob d’Héricourt to the Galerie Hector Brame, Paris; October 10, 1962, sold by Brame to Frost and Reed Gallery, London [see note 4]; about 1962/1963, sold by Frost and Reed to Desmond Robinson, London [see note 5]. 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 6]. 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:  According to William Gaunt, “Fantin-Latour: In the Maturity of His Art,” Connoisseur 152 (January – April, 1963): 220-222. Edwin Edwards (d. 1879) and his wife Elizabeth 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, and is listed as the owner by Mme. Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l‘Oeuvre Complet (1849-1904) de Fantin-Latour (Paris: Henri Floury, 1911), p. 148, cat. no. 1410.  In 1947, a painting by Fantin-Latour of a "bouquet of roses in a glass" (“bouquet de roses dans un verre”) was listed, without dimensions or an image, among the objects that had been confiscated in 1942 from the home of Jean Ferdinand-Dreyfus, the eldest son of Ferdinand Dreyfus, 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. This painting had also been reported on Jean Ferdinand-Dreyfus’s itemized art claim to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris, 1945 (RA 625). The fact that the MFA painting was sold shortly after Jean Ferdinand-Dreyfus’s death by his heir indicates that, if it is the same painting, it must have been returned to the family between 1947 and 1962.  Many thanks to Sophie Brame for supplying information about the Galerie Hector Brame transactions.  According to Gaunt, 1963 (as above, n. 1). There is also a Frost and Reed label affixed to the reverse of the painting dated 1965, at which time it was evidently at the gallery 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.
Bequest of Alice A. Hay