Henri Fantin-Latour

Judgment of Paris


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Henri Fantin-Latour 1836–1904
Original title
Jugement de Paris
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 229 × 279 mm
frame: 395 × 445 × 83 mm
Bequeathed by Hans Velten 1931

Display caption

The shepherd Paris judged a contest of beauty between the goddesses Venus, Juno and Minerva. He here awards the prize of a golden apple to Cupid to give to Venus, who is seen at the left with her clothes billowing around her. Fantin-Latour is best known as a painter of flowers, but throughout his life he also painted subject pictures like this small, early oil sketch.

Gallery label, January 1990

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Catalogue entry

Henri Fantin-Latour 1836-1904

N04580 Jugement de Paris (Judgement of Paris) c.1863

Inscribed 'Fantin' b.r.
Oil on canvas, 8 3/8 x 10 5/8 (21.5 x 27)
Bequeathed by Hans Velten 1931
Prov: With F. and J. Tempelaere, Paris (purchased from the artist's widow 1904); with E.J. Van Wisselingh, London, 1909; Major H. Passmore, London; sold by him at Christie's, London, 18 July 1919, lot 124; bt. Wallis (French Gallery, London?), 310 gns.; Eugene Cremetti (McLean Galleries, London) sale at Christie's, London, 1 June 1923, lot 93; bt. Raeburn Gallery, London, 90 gns; Hans Velten, London
Exh: Opening Exhibition of the Modern Foreign Gallery, Tate Gallery, June-October 1926 (works not numbered), lent by Hans Velten
Lit: Mme Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l'Oeuvre Complet (1849-1904) de Fantin-Latour (Paris 1911), No. 2211, p.237

Paris is seated in the foreground, with the apple in one hand and a shepherd's staff in the other; behind him, on the right, is Minerva. To the left, facing him, is Venus, stretched out on some clouds, with draperies floating around her. A cupid advances towards Paris. In the background is the half-nude figure of Juno.

This is an early sketch by Fantin, painted about 1863, which remained for a very long time in his studio. He used it again much later to make a large pastel which was exhibited at the Salon of 1890 and transformed in 1903 into an oil painting (Mme Fantin-Latour No.1978). The signature was added about 1890.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.215-16, reproduced p.215

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