Wednesday, 13 January 2016

DAY 14 - FAMOUS ARTISTS BIRTHDAY - HENRI FANTIN-LATOUR - SELFIE 1858



SELF PORTRAIT 1869
IGNACE HENRI JEAN THEODORE FANTIN-LATOUR

Gosh, what a mouthful. I wonder if his friends called him Iggy. Nonetheless he was born 14 January 1836 in Grenoble, France with the same birth date as Impressionist Berthe Morisot.

He studied under Gustav Courbet in 1862 and exhibited at the Salon des Refusees in 1863. He painted flowers, still life, self portraits and interpreted music in paint. He was also a lithographer.

Fantin-Latour was a friend of Edouard Manet and their influence on each other is apparent in their respective work. Although his cataglogue mostly pre-dates them, along with many famous impressionists, he was part of the group at the Cafe Guerbois.

SELF PORTRAIT 1858

Fantin-Latour looks very charismatic in his self-portraits (of which there are many), therefore it's no surprise that he was a friend of Manet. I chose to paint a portrait because his flowers are highly detailed and would take longer than the constraints of daily painting. I'm not generally a watercolorist or portrait painter, so this was a good exercise for me.

25 August 1904 Died at Bure, France in the Champagne region.

Here is my version of the 1858 self-portrait. A self-portrait is one of the easiest things for an artist to paint because the model is at hand and you don't have to pay them. However, emotionally, I think it is one of the bravest choices. I'm not that brave yet.

FANTIN-LATOUR SELFIE by Sea Dean
On first glance these two portraits look very similar, but as I was painting I realized that the 1858 portrait showed a much less mature person in more than looks.
He was 22 in the earlier portrait and 33 in the later one. I believe that Fantin-Latour chose the same stance, lighting and artists' smock to measure his aging and progress as an artist.

I journeyed through many stages, trying to decide just how closely I wanted the portrait to resemble the original. First, it was a simple exercise to learn more about the medium, but as often happens during a portrait, I began to communicate with the sitter on a deeper level. I was fascinated by what I was revealing. In 1858 the subject appears very young, with a passion for life, even though he chose a serious pose. By 1869 he appears wary and the spark of youth is gone. I feel I should paint the 1869 portrait now, to reveal the secrets hidden in the shadows.



3.5 x 4.75
Mixed Media on French watercolor paper
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