Le Découragement de l'artiste (The Discouraged Artist )

Object Details


Le Découragement de l'artiste (The Discouraged Artist )


Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836 - 1904)






Black lithographic crayon with scratching on tracing paper

Object Number:



23.5 × 23.5 cm (9 1/4 × 9 1/4 in.)

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Beside a blank canvas, a trio of fanciful female figures visits a dozing painter. One figure places a consoling arm around the artist and appears about to whisper words of inspiration in his ear. Another figure, upright at the right edge of the sheet, moves toward the artist with a palm frond in her left hand. An ethereal, winged figure floats through the background. In the lower right corner, Henri Fantin-Latour's signature suggests that the drawing was conceived as an independent work of art.

Fantin-Latour was fascinated with the world of the artist and produced both lifelike portraits of his Impressionist contemporaries and imaginative works exploring themes of creativity, inspiration, and vision. The three female visitors in this drawing may represent the sleeping artist's inner life and symbolize his frustrated search for inspiration. Fantin-Latour used the lithographic crayon to enhance this dream-like quality, shrouding the scene in mystery. The artist also scraped away areas of crayon shading to heighten the otherworldly mood.

by 1988

Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc.


Leon Black (New York)

Exposition de l'atelier de Fantin-Latour (1905)
  • Chez M. Tempelaere (Paris), January 20 to January 31, 1905
Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900 (June 5 to September 9, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 5 to September 9, 2007
Images of the Artist (November 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012
Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th Century French Drawings and Prints (February 9 to May 15, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 9 to May 15, 2016
Related Media
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    Audio: Le Découragement de l'artiste (Exhibit: Images of the Artist)