Back of canvas
Title: Asters in a Vase
Date: 1875
Artist: Henri Fantin-Latour
French, 1836–1904
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions:
22 7/8 x 23 1/4 in. (58.1 x 59.1 cm)
framed: 31 1/2 in. x 32 in. x 3 3/4 in. (80 x 81.3 x 9.5 cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object Number: 4:1944
Current Location: On View, Gallery 218
Notes:
Henri Fantin-Latour focused his creative attention on the furnishings and inhabitants of interior spaces. This still-life is a superb example of his virtuosic ability to create illusionistic space and capture minute detail. The artist covered a sketch with a thicker layer of paint, then scraped it to create texture. He then applied thin washes of oil paint to produce a shimmering effect. This technique of applying touches of color was pursued more fully by his Impressionist peers who valued spontaneity rather than description.
Signed: l.r., in black paint: Fantin '75.
Provenance
Elizabeth Ruth Edwards (1833-1907), London, England [1]

- 1922
J. van Herwijnen, The Hague, The Netherlands

1922 - 1923
E. J. van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, purchased from J. van Herwijnen [2]

1923 -
Dr. W. L. MacDougald, purchased from E. J. van Wisselingh & Co.

Private Collection, Montreal, Canada [3]

- 1939
A. J. McNeill Reid (b.1893), London, England [4]

1939/04/21 - 1944
Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd., London, England, purchased from A. J. McNeil Reid [5]

by 1940 - 1944
Bignou Gallery, Inc., New York, NY, USA [6]

1944 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Bignou Gallery, Inc. [7]


Notes:
[1] Elizabeth Ruth Edwards and her husband Edwin Edwards (1823-1879) were close friends with Fantin-Latour, and acted as dealers for him in London. A 1939 exhibition catalogue from Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd., which included this painting, lists the previous collections as Mrs. Edwards, London, and Private Collection, Montreal ["Milestones in French Painting." London: Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd., June 1939, cat. no. 12].

[2] According to a letter from Philippe Brame, who was preparing a catalogue raisonné of paintings by Fantin-Latour, this painting was previously in the collections of Edwin Edwards, Reid & Lefevre, and E. J. van Wisselingh, Amsterdam [letter dated December 15, 1976, SLAM document files]. The E. J. van Wisselingh & Co. Fine Art Gallery was founded in 1838, and is one of the oldest galleries in The Netherlands. According to archival records at E. J. van Wisselingh & Co., they bought the painting in 1922 from Mr. J. van Herwijnen, and sold it the following year to Dr. W. L. MacDougald [email from Willem de Winter, E. J. van Wisselingh & Co., dated March 12, 2004, SLAM document files].

[3] Both dealers Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd. (see note [1]), and Bignou Gallery, Inc. indicate that the painting belonged to a private collection in Montreal, Canada [Bignou Gallery Albums, Frick Art Reference Library, New York, transcript, SLAM document files].

[4] The dealer A. J. McNeill Reid was the son of the founder of Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd, and served as one of the firm's directors. The painting was in his private collection until he sold it to the gallery on April 21, 1939 [email from Jacquie Cartwright, Lefevre Fine Art, dated April 15, 2004, SLAM document files].

[5] See note [4]. The painting was exhibited by Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd. in June 1939 (see note [1]). According to correspondence with Lefevre Fine Art, Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd. probably owned the painting jointly with Bignou Gallery, who took it into their stock in 1944 [email from Jacquie Cartwright, Lefevre Fine Art, dated April 15, 2004, SLAM document files]. Upon the declaration of war, Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd. virtually closed down, opening its doors only two days a week until 1944 when it reopened for regular business [National Gallery of Art provenance website, www.nga.gov].

[6] See note [5]. The painting figures in a Bignou Gallery Album at the Frick Art Reference Library, New York (see note [3]), and was shown in 1940 for the first time at the gallery ["French Painters of the Romantic Period." Bignou Gallery, New York, November 12 - 30, 1940, cat. no. 15]. It was also exhibited at Bignou Gallery in 1941 ["A Selection of 19th Century French Paintings." Bignou Gallery, New York, February 24 - March 21, 1941, cat. no. 6].

[7] Invoice from Bignou Gallery, Inc., dated January 11, 1944 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, January 6, 1944.
Exhibition History
Title: Four Centuries of Flower Painting
Date: May 6 - 29, 1960
Venue: Fort Worth Art Center
Title: French Painters of The Romantic Period
Date: November 12 - 30, 1940
Venue: Bignou Gallery, Inc.
Title: A Selection of 19th Century French Paintings
Date: February 24 - March 21, 1942
Venue: Bignou Gallery, Inc.
Title: Milestones in French Painting
Date: June 1939
Venue: Alex Reid & Lefevre Gallery
Publication History
Title: Handbook of the Collections: The City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: The Cover
Periodical Title: Journal of the American Medical Association
Author: M. Therese Southgate
Title: French Painters of The Romantic Period
Year Published: 1940
Title: A Selection of 19th Century French Paintings
Year Published: 1942
Title: Catalogue de l'Oeuvre Complet de Fantin-Latour
Author: Victoria Dubourg Fantin-Latour
Title: The St. Louis Art Museum: Handbook of the Collections
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Asters in a Vase
Periodical Title: Bulletin of the City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Edition: April
Year Published: 1945
Title: Milestones in French Painting
Year Published: 1939
Title: Henri Fantin-Latour
Author: Edward Lucie-Smith
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