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.)

Accession Number


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)

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] Many thanks to Sophie Brame for supplying information about the Galerie Hector Brame transactions.

[5] 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.

[6] 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.

Credit Line

Bequest of Alice A. Hay