Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting

Julian Barnes writes:

Bridget Alsdorf’s first achievement in Fellow Men is a simple but serious one: she has turned Fantin’s paintings back into paintings – into works which begin with an idea and a hope, and proceed through drawings and stubbornly wrong ideas to possible solutions, and then to more drawings, and finally oil sketches, and then via last-minute problems of sitter-unavailability to a final image which will very soon be made available to the judgment of fashionable Salon-prancers, to critical misunderstanding and cartoonists’ mockery.

(LRB 11 April 2013)