A celebrated painter of floral still lifes, Fantin-Latour was also known for group portraits of contemporary artists. He briefly attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and then studied in the Louvre, making copies of old master paintings. Fantin-Latour later worked in Gustave Courbet's studio, where he drew and painted from live models. Fellow painters Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, and James McNeill Whistler were among his friends.
In 1859 he paid the first of many visits to London, where he exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1862. The following year he showed at the Salon des Refusés in Paris because his paintings had been rejected by the official Salon.
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