Misfit: Henri Fantin-Latour 3 Absent friends

Dark and richly romantic!

The Eclectic Light Company

As the destruction and slaughter of the Paris Commune subsided in 1871, Henri Fantin-Latour (1836–1904) emerged from his father’s Paris apartment, where he had been hiding since the start of the Franco-Prussian War the previous summer. He then made a start on his next major group painting, which he completed the following year.

fantinlatourbythetable Henri Fantin-Latour (1836–1904), By the Table (1872), oil on canvas, 160 x 225 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Wikimedia Commons.

Another large canvas, By the Table was only just finished in time for the 1872 Salon because one of its figures refused to appear alongside those who he termed “pimps and thieves”. Although outside the Francophone world today you might wonder who these drably-dressed figures are, this was Fantin’s most famous painting, as it shows all the major avant-garde poets of the time.

The figures are:

  • Pierre-Elzéar Bonnier (standing, left)
  • Emile Blémont
  • Jean Aicard (standing, right)
  • Paul Verlaine…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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