Henri Fantin-Latout was born in Grenoble on January 14, 1836 to a Russian mother and French father, portrait painter and drawing teacher.
From 1853 he began to work in Gustave Courbet's studio and, after leaving school, he spent his time in the Louvre copying paintings of antiques. And it is there that he meets Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot. Unlike the realists and impressionists, the painter does not like to paint outdoors so he chooses literary themes, still lifes and portraits as subjects that could be worked out in his studio.
His still lifes and portraits, rendered with muffled shades, met with great success in London, where Fantin-Latour stayed several times invited by James Whistler, who introduced him to the English artistic environment.
In his later years the painter paid a lot of attention to lithography which he had already experimented with in 1862, when, in homage to the composer Richard Wagner, he had illustrated his music with lithographs that were considered too revolutionary for the strong contrast of whites and blacks.