Henri Fantin-Latour was born in Grenoble, France, in 1836. In Paris his father, Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour, gave him instruction in copying paintings. In 1854 he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under the painter Lecoq de Boisbaudran. He rapidly acquired a circle of friends, but at first recognition evaded him. He became acquainted with the art critic Zacharie Astruc as well as the painters Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet and Berthe Morisot and the Englishmen Frederick Leighton and James McNeill Whistler. In 1857 he met the German painter Otto Scholderer, who introduced him to the painting of Gustave Courbet and the music of Richard Wagner. At Whistler’s invitation Fantin-Latour travelled repeatedly to England, and in 1864 he exhibited there at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. In 1862 he became a member of the Société des Aquafortistes, dedicated to the art of etching. His group portraits brought him recognition in France, and he increasingly sold still lifes and portraits. After his experiences under the Paris Commune, from 1871 on he abandoned his friends and developed a sceptical, conservative stance. He then produced his first Symbolist subjects. In the 1880s lithography became his favoured medium, one in which he created ecstatic, dreamlike visions inspired by the music of Wagner and Hector Berlioz. Fantin-Latour died in Buré, in Normandy, in 1904.