When modernism emerged Henri Fantin-Latour lived in the epicentre – Paris. He was friends with many of the writers and painters who were to revolutionise art. But although he had regular contact with the Impressionists such as Manet, Degas and Whistler, he stuck to his painting style, which was trained by Gustave Courbet and committed to realism.
He became famous for his still lifes, which he produced with almost photographic precision. Those still lifes were also highly appreciated by his fellow painters who pursued completely different ideas and approaches. In addition, there is a series of group portraits in which he depicted his illustrious circle of friends – above all the "Homage to Delacroix" from 1865 (which shows the late painter surrounded by Whistler, Manet, Baudelaire and Fantin-Latour himself, among others) and the "A Studio at Les Batignolles" from 1870, which portrays Manet and his companions (including Zola, Monet and Renoir).
His lithographs, which were inspired by the music of his time, were also highly influential. In art history today, they are regarded as bridging the gap between realism and later symbolism.