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The Two Sisters

Henri Fantin-Latour, French, 1836–1904
Oil on canvas
Made in
Western Europe, France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 217
38 3/4 x 51 3/8 in. (98.4 x 130.5 cm)
framed: 47 5/8 in. × 60 in. × 5 1/2 in. (121 × 152.4 × 14 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
Henri Fantin-Latour painted this double portrait of his sisters when he was only 22 years old. He presents the two young women in the intimate setting of their home, with Marie This double portrait shows the two younger sisters of the painter; Marie reads on the right while Nathalie embroiders on the left. The subdued tones of this bourgeois interior are offset by the colorful yarn on the embroidery frame. The picture is notable for an unspoken psychological tension between the two sitters. An unsettling note in Nathalie’s face hints at her depressive illness which would soon confine her to a mental institution for the rest of her life.
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) [1]

by 1902 - still in 1911
Mr. and Mrs. Victor Klotz, Paris, France [2]

Arnold Tooth & Sons, London, England [3]

Mrs. Gillou, Paris, France [4]

by 1936 - 1937
Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., New York, NY, USA [5]

1937 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. [6]

[1] Per invoice from Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc. [SLAM document files].

[2] A 1902 publication lists the painting in the collection of Mr. Victor Klotz [Bénédite, Léonce. "Un Tableau de Fantin-Latour." "Revue de l'Art Ancien et Modern" 12/65 (Aug 10, 1902): 100]. By 1906, the painting was in the collection of Mrs. Victor Klotz, where it remained until at least the printing of the first catalogue raisonné in 1911 [Bénédite, Léonce. "Fantin-Latour." "Art et Décoration" 19 (Jan-June 1906): 156; Fantin-Latour, Victoria Dubourg. "Catalogue de l'Oeuvre Complet de Fantin-Latour (1849-1904)." Paris, 1911, cat. no. 114].

[3] This provenance was first noted in a 1983 publication, and is supported by three subsequent exhibition catalogs [Druick, Douglas and Michel Hoog. "Fantin-Latour." Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1983, cat. no. 20; "A Magic Mirror: The Portrait in France, 1700-1900", ed. by George T.M. Shackelford, and Mary Tavener Holmes. Houston: The Museum of Fine Arts, 1986, cat. no. 32; "Origins of Impressionism", ed. by Gary Tinterow and Henri Loyrette. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994, cat. no. 70; "The Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from American Collections", ed. by Sona Johnston. The Baltimore Museum of Art. New York: Rizzoli, 1999, cat. no. 29].

[4] See note [3].

[5] The Saint Louis Art Museum expressed interest in the painting to Germaine Seligmann, Director of Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., as early as May 1936 [letter dated May 15, 1936, SLAM document files]. The Museum took the painting on consignment in November 1936, and purchased it in December [consignment invoice dated November 3, 1936; confirmation of purchase dated December 8, 1936, SLAM document files].

[6] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, January 7, 1937.
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