This book reframes the formative years of three significant artists: Henri Fantin-Latour, Alphonse Legros, and James McNeill Whistler. The trio’s coming together as the Société des trois occurred during the emergence of the artistic avant-garde—a movement toward individualism and self-expression. Though their oeuvres appear dissimilar, it is imperative that the three artists’ early work and letters be viewed in light of the Société, as it informed many of their decisions in both London and Paris. Each artist actively cultivated a translocal presence, creating artistic networks that transcended national borders. Thus, this book will serve as a comprehensive resource on the development, production, implications, and eventual end of the Société.
Table of Contents
1. The Importance of Unity: Parisian Students in the Early Second Empire
2. United: The Formation of the Société
3. A Cross-Channel Union: Beyond Paris, Beyond Students
4. Unity in Action: 1863 and the Salon des Refusés
5. Unity on Canvas: Pivotal Portraits of the Société
6. The Union Undone: An Inevitable End
Melissa Berry is an instructor in art history at the University of Victoria, Canada.
“A refreshingly direct and jargon-free study by a young scholar illuminating the experiences of Whistler, Legros, and Fantin-Latour as young painters, fashioning themselves as the Société des trois, who together navigated the Paris and London art worlds of the 1850s and '60s while transitioning from students to professional artists.”
– Aida Audeh, Hamline University