A Proper British Prop: Tissot’s Tartan Blanket

Among the recurring props that James Tissot used in his oil paintings, including the tiger skin, the leopard fur, certain striking gowns, and numerous wicker chairs, were fringed woolen blankets, most often one in a red tartan.

The first use he made of a blanket as a device to add color and visual interest to his composition was in The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their children (1865):  in this case, a fringed red and white checked picnic cloth, or table cover, is draped over the stone wall behind the French aristocrat’s young son, Léon.

img_2578-copyright-lucy-paquette-2015-2

The Marquis and Marquise de Miramon and their children (1865), by James Tissot.  Musee d’Orsay, Paris.  www.the-athenaeum.org

After Tissot emigrated to London in mid-1871, rebuilding his career following the Franco-Prussian War and the bloody Commune uprising in Paris, one of the first oils he painted and exhibited in this new market featured a subdued brown and white striped lap rug, appropriate to the palette, in Gentleman in a Railway Carriage (1872).

gentleman-in-a-railway-carriage-jpglarge

Gentleman in a Railway Carriage (1872), by James Tissot.  The Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts.  (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Tissot, ever the shrewd man of business, understood that he now had to paint for an entirely new clientele.  While British aristocrats did not purchase the Frenchman’s paintings, plenty of newly-wealthy businessmen sought his work as they enhanced their social status by building art collections.  Tissot had to appeal to Victorian tastes, in an empire ruled by a Queen whose beloved retreat was Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire.

Soon, he began to feature Scottish tartan blankets in his paintings.  He used the same fringed tartan blanket in The Captain and the Mate (1873) and The Last Evening (1873).  In these pictures as well as A Visit to the Yacht (1873), the blanket is a prop that provides an enlivening splash of red in the composition and sets off the adjacent gown.

In The Captain’s Daughter (1873), a black and white checked blanket is draped over the wooden railing under the woman’s arm, providing visual interest between the water and her dark floral dress.

BAL17816

The Captain and the Mate, (1873), by James Tissot. The Captain and the Mate (1873), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 53.6 by 76.2 cm. Private Collection. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” © 2012 Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, © 2012

1280px-James_Tissot_-_The_Last_Evening

The Last Evening (1873), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 28.3 by 40.6 in. (72 by 103 cm). The Guildhall Art Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

james-jacques-joseph_tissote28099s_a_visit_to_the_yacht2c_sotheby27s

A Visit to the Yacht (c. 1873), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.

The Captain's Daughter

The Captain’s Daughter (1873), by James Tissot.  www.the-athenaeum.org

Tissot then begins to use this prop with some psychological sophistication.  In The Return from the Boating Trip (1873) and Waiting at the Station, Willesden Junction (1874), the tartan blanket not only provides the red necessary to the composition, but it adds a note of modern self-reliance to the women holding it.  With the blanket draped over their arms, Tissot depicts them providing for their own needs and ensuring their own comfortable mobility.

the-return-from-the-boating-trip

The Return from the Boating Trip (1873), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.

Willesden Junction

Waiting at the Station (Willesden Junction, 1874), by James Tissot.  Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand.  www.the-athenaeum.org

Later in the decade, Tissot uses a red tartan blanket as a fashion statement.  In The Thames (c. 1876), the woman on the left has covered her gown quite elegantly with it.

WAK41966

The Thames (1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 28.5 by 46.5 in. (72.5 by 118 cm). Hepworth Wakefield Art Gallery, Wakefield, UK. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot” by Lucy Paquette, © 2012.

In Portsmouth Dockyard (1877), the woman on the right has wrapped Tissot’s tartan blanket over her shoulders and torso; it echoes the color and pattern of the Highlander’s uniform and hose.  The woman on the left carries a black and white blanket that matches her ensemble.

Portsmouth Dockyard

Portsmouth Dockyard (How Happy I Could be with Either, c. 1877), by James Tissot.  Tate Britain, London.  www.the-athenaeum.org

By the end of the decade, Tissot uses two different tartan blankets, one wrapped around a woman and another swaddling her baby, in a painting with an overall red palette that evokes a palpable sense of danger and excitement, The Emigrants (c. 1879).

James_Tissot_-_Emigrants

The Emigrants (c. 1879), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 15.5 by 7 in. (39.4 by 17.8 cm). Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

After a decade of using a traveling blanket to add interest to various oil paintings, Tissot reverted to relying on it for a splash of color, as in By Water (Waiting at Dockside, c. 1881-82).

Waiting at Dockside

By Water (Waiting at Dockside, c. 1881-82), by James Tissot.

Just as he painted women’s fashions so skillfully, James Tissot showcased his extraordinary technical skills when portraying patterns such as stripes, checks and plaids.  He made efficient use of the red tartan blanket prop for color, visual interest, psychological insight, and a clever appeal to his British clients.

Related posts:

Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot

Tissot in the U.S.: The Speed Museum, Kentucky

Tissot’s Study for the family of the Marquis de Miramon (1865)

CH377762©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).

See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

Wicker: James Tissot’s Modern Prop Furniture

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may recall this story:

the-dreamer-summer-evening

Study for The Dreamer (or, Summer Evening, c. 1876), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Photo: Wikiart.org)

James Tissot painted Kathleen Newton in the study above [called The Dreamer] about 1876, selling it for £206 as Rêverie at the Dudley Gallery in London. In the 1920s, a man bought it “for a few pounds.”  In 1984, the man’s daughter brought the picture to a valuation day at Woodbridge Community Hall in Suffolk, England.  She had no idea what it was, but said, “It has been on the wall for as long as I can remember.  My dad always used to poke around the sale rooms and this just came home.  I can’t remember when.  The story always was that he bought it because it reminded him of my mother, they both had the same auburn colored hair.  Nobody knew anything about it in the family.  We had it re-framed, and while it was at the framer’s somebody offered us £600 for it and so we thought we should get it looked at professionally.”  A Sotheby’s representative at the valuation day said, “I remember turning round to say something to my secretary and when I turned back again this gentleman had put the picture down on the table in front of me.  I remember taking one look at it and thinking to myself, “My God, a Tissot.”

What I haven’t mentioned is the way the Sotheby’s representative, Mark Armstrong, recognized the painting as a work by French painter James Tissot.  Can you guess?  No, it was not the familiar face of Tissot’s mistress and muse, the young divorcée Kathleen Newton (1854–1882).  Mr. Armstrong asked the gentleman who owned the painting if he realized what it was, and when the man shook his head, he explained, “Certain things are always recognizable in these pictures, like the wicker chair for instance.  Then when I saw [Tissot’s] signature and monogram, I honestly just could not believe it.  It’s the kind of thing that makes these days come alive.”

Wicker, or woven, furniture was a new consumer good by James Tissot’s adult years.

Although wicker furniture first arrived in America on the Mayflower, production of wicker furniture in the United States began in the 1840s, after the Chinese opened a number of treaty ports to foreign trade.  Clipper ships from China brought cargo to America with raw cane rattan used as dunnage to secure it and prevent shifting.  This raw cane would then be discarded at the docks.  In 1844, an enterprising young grocer, Cyrus Wakefield (1811 – 1873), pondered uses for the large quantities of abandoned rattan at Constitution Wharf in Boston.  He realized how flexible the cane was, and after bending the rattan to produce a chair, he saw the potential of the material.

Wakefield soon began to import his own clipper ships full of rattan, which was in great demand by basket and furniture makers.  By 1851, he started making furniture from woven rattan, and it became popular.

In 1855, Wakefield and his wife left Boston and moved to South Reading [renamed Wakefield in 1868], Massachusetts, where he established the Wakefield Rattan Company.  He continued to sell the imported rattan throughout the United States and to experiment with techniques to construct wicker furniture.  Bending oak or hickory into frames wrapped with split cane, the flowing shapes were filled with ornate rattan patterns.

Previously, the inner core, or the reed, of the rattan plant had been discarded, but Cyrus Wakefield and others began experimenting with the use of reed.  In 1856, civil unrest in China resulted in a cutoff of the rattan supply, which led to more experimentation using the reed; it was discovered that reed but was porous and could be painted or stained.

The Wakefield Rattan Company expanded during the 1860s and virtually cornered the market on hand-woven furniture.  But toward the end of the decade, a loom was created that sped production of the furniture by automatically weaving and installing the chair seats.

In the early 1870’s, products manufactured by the Wakefield Rattan Company included “chairs for ladies, gentlemen and children, cradle, cribs, tete-a-tete and sofas,” as well as matting, baskets, baby carriages, window shades, brooms, clothes beaters, hoops for ladies’ skirts, and many other items.  [Click here to see an advertisement c. 1872.]

Tissot moved to London in mid-1871, in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War and the Bloody Paris Commune.  In 1873, he bought the lease on a medium-sized, two-storey Queen Anne-style villa, built of red brick with white Portland stone dressing, at 17 (now 44), Grove End Road, in the leafy suburb of St. John’s Wood.  The house was set in a large and private garden separating him from the horse traffic, omnibuses and pedestrians on their way to the Regent’s Park or the still-new Underground Railway station nearby.

In 1873, Tissot featured the same curvaceous bentwood rocking chair with a woven-cane seat and back in two of his paintings, A Visit to the Yacht and The Last Evening.

James-Jacques-Joseph_Tissot_s_A_Visit_to_the_Yacht,_Sotheby's.

A Visit to the Yacht (c. 1873), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 34 by 21 in. (87.6 by 56 cm).  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

1280px-James_Tissot_-_The_Last_Evening

The Last Evening (1873), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 28.3 by 40.6 in. (72 by 103 cm). The Guildhall Art Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

limperatrice_eugenie_et_son_fils_-_1878_-_james_tissot

The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst (c. 1874), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 50 by 60 in. (106.6 by 152.4 cm). Musee Nationale du Chateau de Compiegne, France. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

About 1874, in the face of rumors that Tissot was a Communard, he painted a dual portrait of the exiled French empress and her son, which seemingly refutes the charge.  In The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst, Tissot depicts the exiled royals risen from lightweight wicker readings chairs.  In the autumnal scene, the portable chairs strike an ephemeral note.

In 1875, Tissot built an extension with a studio and huge conservatory that doubled the size of his house.

in-the-conservatory

In the Conservatory (The Rivals, c. 1875), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 15 1/8 by 20 1/8 in. (38.4 by 51.1 cm). (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

In In the Conservatory (The Rivals, c. 1875), Tissot features the back of a substantial, circular roll-back wicker armchair, with its elegant herringbone pattern shown in full detail.

 

The Wakefield Rattan Company participated in the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, which was attended by nearly a quarter of the population of the United States.  Since middle-class American families were just beginning to move to suburban and country homes, there was a demand for informal furniture for porches, summer homes and even parlors. [Click here to read more on the Wakefield Rattan Company.]

From the 1870s through the late 1890s, the Wakefield Rattan Company faced fierce competition from another furniture maker, Heywood Brothers Company of Gardner, Massachusetts.  Both companies offered increasingly original and elaborate designs with outstanding craftsmanship, and wicker furniture, which was sturdy, lightweight, and elegant, became increasingly popular.

Wicker furniture also became fashionable in Victorian England, in part because it was considered sanitary.  Unlike upholstered furniture, wicker was easy to clean and did not collect dust.

Tissot designed his garden with a blend of English-style flower beds as well as plantings familiar to him from French parks.  He added an ornamental pond and a cast iron colonnade, copied from the Parc Monceau in Paris, which ran in a curve from the south side of the pool towards the house.  A similar curved colonnade ran from the east end of the pool.

The bay window of Tissot’s new studio overlooked this idyllic landscape, which he enjoyed and painted repeatedly.

SAG65029

The Convalescent (c. 1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas; 30.2 by 39.06 in. (76.7 by 99.2 cm). Museums Sheffield. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot” by Lucy Paquette © 2012.

In Tissot’s The Convalescent (c. 1876), two women model in a grouping of three comfortable wicker armchairs by his garden pool; the third chair is reserved slyly with a man’s hat and cane.

The convalescing woman’s chair, with its squared back, round base, flat armrests and vertical supports, is so similar to the chairs in The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial that they either were purchased from the same source, or possibly owned by Tissot and transported to Chislehurst for the portrait setting.

James_Tissot_-_Holyday

Holyday (c. 1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas. Tate Britain, London. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

In Holyday (c. 1876), the elderly chaperone minds her own business in a wicker chair to the left while a youthful group picnics at the side of Tissot’s garden pool.

James_Tissot_-_The_Letter

The Letter (c. 1878), by James Tissot. 27 by 40 in. (68.58 by 101.60 cm). National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

A lightweight wicker dining set is shown in the back of this garden in The Letter (c. 1878), said to be set in the Dutch Gardens of Holland House in London.

Here’s the interesting thing – or one of them, anyway:  Tissot’s career spanned forty-three years, from 1859, when the 23-year-old launched his career in Paris, competing with established artists by exhibiting five entries in the Salon, until his death in 1902, while he still was working on an illustrated Old Testament (published in 1904).  Yet the wicker chair(s) so associated with his work appeared only in his paintings during nine of the years within his London period, 1871 to 1882, which overlaps the six years, 1876 to 1882, when Kathleen Newton lived with him in his elegant St. John’s Wood villa in London.

In those nine years, Tissot painted fewer than two dozen pictures that include a wicker armchair, chaise, or stool.

800px-James_Tissot_-_Kathleen_Newton_In_An_Armchair

Kathleen Newton in an Armchair (1878), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 12 by 17 in. (30.5 by 43.2 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

In Kathleen Newton in an Armchair (1878), Tissot features a wicker reading chair in the corner of his studio, overlooking his garden.  With its flat armrests, this chair is similar in design to the chairs in The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst (c. 1874) and The Convalescent (c. 1876), but this chair has a slightly arched back, unlike the squared back of the other chairs.

the-rivals-800x600

Rivals (1878 – 1879), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 36.22 by 26.77 in. (92 by 68 cm). Private collection.

In Rivals (1878-1879), Tissot’s wicker reading chair has been moved to the conservatory so Mrs. Newton may lounge while modeling.  The older gentleman sits in a wicker chair as well.

The wicker pieces offered an interesting textural contrast within Tissot’s compositions.

BAL4975

Hide and Seek (1877), by James Tissot. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot” by Lucy Paquette © 2012

In Hide and Seek (1877), Kathleen Newton reads the paper while lounging in the wicker reading chair in the corner of his elegant studio, where French doors open into the garden.

display_image, Soeur

La sœur aînée (The Elder Sister), c. 1881, by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 17.5 by 8 in. (44.45 by 20.32 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/)

The lacy, lightweight wicker chair in La sœur aînée (The Elder Sister, c. 1881), easily could be moved in and out of the house.

James Tissot, one of the first artists to use photography as the basis for his oil paintings, and who kept a photographic record of all his works, was a thoroughly modern man.  The wicker furniture that he owned and portrayed in his paintings is, like his depiction of current female and male fashions, one more sign of his contemporary style.

kathleen-newton-at-the-piano

Kathleen Newton at the Piano (c. 1881), by James Tissot. Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

In this oil study, Kathleen Newton at the Piano (c. 1881), she is seated on a wicker stool covered in a heavy cloth.

When Kathleen Newton died of tuberculosis on November 9, 1882, at age 28, Tissot returned to Paris after the funeral the following week.  Within a year, he sold his London villa to the Dutch-born painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 – 1912).

Never again did James Tissot’s paintings feature the graceful wicker furniture of his leisured life in London.

Related posts:

Tissot in the Conservatory

For sale:  In the Conservatory (Rivals), c. 1875, by James Tissot

James Tissot’s house at St. John’s Wood, London

James Tissot Domesticated

James Tissot’s garden idyll & Kathleen Newton’s death

©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

 

Tissot’s Tiger Skin: A Prominent Prop

Since today is April Fool’s Day – and my birthday – let’s have a lighthearted look at a prop that James Tissot often used, a tiger skin.  

In 1877, Tissot draped a tiger skin over a wide upholstered armchair to underscore the masculinity and dynamism of his sometime art dealer, Algernon Moses Marsden (1847 – 1920).  [Marsden actually deserved to be portrayed with a rat skin, as he was a gambler, bankrupt and rogue who foisted his debts on his father and abandoned his wife and ten children.  See Who was Algernon Moses Marsden?]

james_tissot_-_algeron_moses_marsden

Algernon Moses Marsden (1877), by James Tissot.  Private collection. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other Victorian artists, notably Tissot’s friend Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 – 1912) as well as Alma-Tadema’s protégé John William Godward (1861 – 1922), featured tiger skins as an exotic element in sensual paintings of lovely women.

800px-lawrence_alma-tadema_cherries

Cherries (1873), by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Private Collection. (Image: Wikimedia.org)

450px-john_collier_-_priestess_of_bacchus

The Priestess of Bacchus (1885-89), by John Maler Collier (1850-1934). (Image: Wikimedia.org)

771px-the_sweet_siesta_of_a_summer_day

The Sweet Siesta of a Summer Day (1891), by John William Godward. (Image: Wikimedia.org)

800px-john_william_godward_-_dolce_far_niente_28189729

Dolce Far Niente (1897), by John William Godward. (Image: Wikimedia.org)

Eighty and eighteen

Eighty and Eighteen (1898), by John William Godward. (Image: Wikimedia.org)

James Tissot, so technically skilled and refined, almost never presented open sensuality in his work, especially during the years he painted in England (1871–1882).  He used the tiger skin in his paintings for textural complexity and to illustrate the lushness of the Victorian leisured life.  After Tissot’s mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton (1854–1882), moved into his home, he added a leopard skin rug to his prop collection.

In Hide and Seek (c. 1877), Tissot featured both the leopard skin and the tiger skin, among many textures including the Oriental porcelain, the two mirrors, the leather-armed chaise, the polished wooden occasional table, and the round enameled table in the foreground.

BAL4975

Hide and Seek (c. 1877), by James Tissot. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot” by Lucy Paquette © 2012

In Reading a Story (c. 1878-79), the leopard skin is tossed over a bench in Tissot’s garden:

reading-a-story

Reading a Story (c. 1878-79), by James Tissot. Private Collection. (Image: Wikiart.org)

In 1880, it lines Mrs. Newton’s chair in A Type of Beauty.

kathleen_newton_a_type_of_beauty

A Type of Beauty (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1880), by James Tissot. Private Collection. (Image: Wikipedia.org).

The leopard skin is draped neatly over the garden bench in pictures from 1881 to 1882:

quiet

Quiet (c. 1881), by James Tissot. Private Collection. (Image: Wikiart.org)

the-garden-bench

Le banc de jardin/The Garden Bench (1882), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 99.1 by 142.2 cm. Private collection. (Photo: Wikiart)

Tissot also shows the leopard skin used as the family picnic rug, c. 1881.

dt2628

In Full Sunlight (En plein soleil, c. 1881), by James Tissot.  Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Open Access.

How prim Tissot, the Frenchman, seems compared to the Dutch-born Alma-Tadema!

1200px-tepidarium_lawrence_alma-tadema_281836-191229

The Tepidarium (1881), by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. (Image: Wikimedia.org)

By 1882, enjoying his domestic life with Kathleen Newton and her two children, Tissot’s tiger skin is emblematic of the exuberance of their days – which would end with Kathleen’s death of tuberculosis in November.

a-little-nimrod

Le Petit Nemrod (A Little Nimrod), c. 1882, by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 34 ½ by 55 3/5 in. (110.5 by 141.3 cm). Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’archéologie, Besançon, France. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

But while James Tissot did not use his tiger skin in erotic images, he did use it to create one with an improving moral message.

triumph-of-the-will-the-challengelarge

Triumph of Will: The Challenge (1877), by James Tissot. (Image: Wikiart.org)

Even in La femme préhistorique (The Prehistoric Woman), Tissot shuns the opportunity to paint an erotic semi-nude primitive; he veers off with his own idiosyncratic approach.

231px-la_femme_prc3a9historique

La femme prehistorique, by James Tissot. (Image: Wikimedia.org)

But, then, at least Tissot never inflicted this type of image upon posterity:

autumn-flowerslarge

Autumn Flowers, by Jehan Georges Vibert (1840 – 1902). (Image: Wikiart.org)

Thank you for celebrating my birthday with me, and please enjoy other posts on my blog as well as my novel about James Tissot, The Hammock!

Previous April Fool’s Day posts:

The Missing Tissot Nudes

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

Tissot and his Friends Clown Around

Happy Hour with James Tissot

©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

The Artist’s Closet: James Tissot’s Prop Costumes

James Tissot kept a small wardrobe of prop costumes, which he periodically supplanted, that provided visual interest to his oil paintings.  Tissot, whose father was a wholesale linen draper (a trader in fabrics and dress trimmings to retailers and exporters) and mother a hat company owner, was a virtuoso at painting every detail of women’s fashions.  He brought each flounce, pleat and nuance in the fabrics and trims to life, and he showcased his extraordinary technical skills when portraying patterns such as stripes, checks and plaids.  The gowns which adorned his models were elegant and stylish enough to make a fashion statement – though perhaps with new accessories – over a period of one to as many as five years.

CIN408385

Young Women looking at Japanese articles (1869), by James Jacques Joseph Tissot. Oil on canvas, 70.5 x 50.2 cm. Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, USA; Gift of Henry M. Goodyear, M.D. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” by Lucy Paquette © 2012

the-stairs

The Stairs (c. 1869), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.

At the height of Tissot’s success in Paris, when in his early thirties, he re-used a white, bobble-trimmed morning gown with a cape collar in The Stairs (L’escalier, c. 1869, Private Collection), Mélancolie (1869, Private Collection) and two of the three versions of Young ladies admiring Japanese objects (Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais, 1869; one, Private Collection, the other, Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio).

young-ladies-looking-at-japanese-objects

Young Ladies Admiring Japanese Objects (1869), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikipaintings.org)

Also in 1869, Tissot re-used a brown visiting ensemble – a skirt with a pleated hem and a fur-trimmed paletôt – in The Snack (Le Goûter, Private Collection), Rêverie (1869, Private Collection), and Le rendez-vous secret (c. 1869, Private Collection), which he also used c. 1865-69  for Dans l’église (In Church, Private Collection).  In each painting, the ensemble is shown from a different angle.

in-church

In Church (Dans l’eglise, c. 1865-69), by James Tissot.  (Image:  Wikiart.org)

james_tissot_-_le_rendez_vous_secret

Le rendez-vous secret (c. 1869), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikimedia.org)

10660, boat

On the River (1871), by James Tissot.  U.K. Government Art Collection.

In 1871, Tissot painted more than one version of On the River (A la rivière), featuring a long-sleeved white muslin gown he had used in several versions of Young Woman in a Boat (Jeune femme en bateau, 1870).

He had used the same dress, with its distinctive cuffs, in Unaccepted (1869, Private Collection).

james_tissot_-_young_lady_in_a_boat

Young Woman in a Boat (Jeune femme en bateau, 1870), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikimedia.org)

unaccepted

Unaccepted (1869), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikiart.org)

After Tissot moved to London in mid-1871, following the Franco-Prussian War and its bloody aftermath, the Paris Commune, he continued his practice of re-using eye-catching costumes for the female models in his paintings.

autumn-on-the-thames

Autumn on the Thames, Nuneham Courtney (c. 1871-72), by James Tissot.  (Image:  Wikiart.org)

The central figure in Autumn on the Thames, Nuneham Courtney (c. 1871-72) wears an ensemble that shows how women’s outerwear was redesigned to accommodate the new soft bustle style.

Years later, in Quarreling (c. 1874-76), Tissot showed another view of the back of this still-chic ensemble.

quarrelling

Quarreling (c. 1874-76), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikiart.org)

the-return-from-the-boating-trip

The Return from the Boating Trip (1873), by James Tissot.  (Image:  Wikipaintings.org)

A more notable investment was the stunning, black-and-white striped gown that features in some of Tissot’s most well-known images from the 1870s.  In The Return from the Boating Trip (1873), Tissot features a woman facing the viewer, wearing the striped gown under a black paletôt.  He used the gown again in Boarding the Yacht (1873, Private Collection) and The Captain and the Mate (1873, Private Collection), and from the back in Still on Top (c. 1874, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand) and Preparing for the Gala (c. 1874, Private Collection).  He used the dress yet again in Portsmouth Dockyard (also known as Entre les deux mon coeur balance, or How Happy I Could Be with Either, c. 1877, Tate Britain, U.K.), which he exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery from May to June 1877.

still-on-top

Still on Top (c. 1874), by James Tissot.

Portsmouth Dockyard circa 1877 by James Tissot 1836-1902

Portsmouth Dockyard (How Happy I Could Be with Either), c. 1877), by James Tissot.  Tate Britain, U.K.  (Image:  Wikimedia.org)

The same cream overdress edged in fringe appears in The Captain and the Mate, Boarding the Yacht and A Visit to the Yacht (La Visite au Navire, c. 1873).

BAL17816

The Captain and the Mate, (1873), by James Tissot. The Captain and the Mate (1873), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 53.6 by 76.2 cm. Private Collection. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” © 2012

boarding-the-yacht

Boarding the Yacht (1873), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikipaintings.org)

james-jacques-joseph_tissote28099s_a_visit_to_the_yacht2c_sotheby27s

A Visit to the Yacht (c. 1873), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikimedia.org)

Less recognizable is the low-cut, flounced pink ball gown with red trim which appears at the center of Too Early (1873) and at the center left in Hush!  The Concert (c. 1875).

IMG_5081

Detail, Too Early (1873), by James Tissot.  Guildhall Art Gallery, U.K.  (Image:  Lucy Paquette).

james_tissot_-_hush21

Hush! (The Concert), c. 1875, by James Tissot.  Manchester Art Gallery, U.K.  (Image:  Wikimedia.org)

Tissot re-used a striped overdress with a column of black buttons down the center of the apron on the female figures in two versions of London Visitors (c. 1874), Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern (c. 1874, Speed Museum of Art, Kentucky, U.S.) as well as on the seated woman on the left in The Ball on Shipboard (c. 1874, Tate Britain, U.K.).

723px-james_tissot_-_london_visitors

London Visitors (c. 1874), by James Tissot.  Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, U.S.  (Image:  Wikipedia Commons)

IMG_3655, good

Detail, Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern (c. 1874), by James Tissot.  Speed Museum of Art, Kentucky, U.S.  (Image:  Lucy Paquette)

Ball, detail 1 (2), use

Detail, The Ball on Shipboard (C. 1874).  Tate Britain, U.K.  (Image:  Lucy Paquette)

The woman in Reading the News (c. 1874) wears a tailored yachting gown cut from a heavy white fabric, probably cotton, and trimmed in navy blue ribbon and soft white cotton fringe.

Tissot painted this untrained gown from two other angles in The Ball on Shipboard (c. 1874).

612px-James_Tissot_-_Reading_the_News

Reading the News (c. 1874), by James Tissot.

Ball, detail 3

Detail, The Ball on Shipboard (c. 1874), Tate Britain, U.K.  (Image:  Lucy Paquette)

Notice how Tissot re-used the pink gown with the maroon trim – as well as a matching hat – on a minor figure climbing the stairs to the right in The Ball on Shipboard (c. 1874) and on a seated woman shown from the back in In the Conservatory (The Rivals, c. 1875, Private Collection).  In the latter painting, he also captures the blue gown (and hat) from two different angles.

Ball, detail 4 (2), use

Detail, The Ball on Shipboard (c. 1874), by James Tissot.  (Image:  Lucy Paquette)

In the Conservatory (Rivals)

In the Conservatory (Rivals, c. 1875), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.

SAG65029

A Convalescent (c. 1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas; 30.2 by 39.06 in. (76.7 by 99.2 cm). Museums Sheffield. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot” by Lucy Paquette © 2012.

James_Tissot_-_Portrait_of_Miss_LloydJames_Tissot_-_July

A summery white gown trimmed with lemon-yellow satin ribbons was prominent in a half-dozen of Tissot’s oils in the mid-1870s, including A Portrait (1876, Tate Britain) [left], A Convalescent (c. 1876, Museums Sheffield), and A Passing Storm (c. 1876, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, New Brunswick).

Tissot painted the same gown, with blue ribbons instead, in A Fête Day at Brighton (c. 1875-1878, Private Collection).

In Spring (c. 1878, Private Collection) [right] and July (Speciman of a Portrait, c. 1878, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio), the gown is modeled by Tissot’s new mistress and muse, the young divorced mother Kathleen Newton (1854 – 1882).  [Note that her hair was overpainted red at some later date.]

specimen_of_a_portrait

July (Speciman of a Portrait, c. 1878), by James Tissot.  Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, U.S.

james_tissot_-_a_fete_day_at_brighton

A Fete Day at Brighton (c. 1875-78), by James Tissot.  (Image:  Wikimedia.org)

Once Mrs. Newton began modeling for Tissot, the gowns he repeatedly depicted clearly were hers, tailored to her slender figure.  One of the loveliest garments that Tissot painted her in more than once is the exuberantly embroidered black coat she wore in October (1877, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Canada) and Mavourneen (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1877, Private Collection).

CH32763

Mavourneen (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1877). Oil on canvas, 36 in. /91.44 cm. by 20 in./50.80 cm. Photo courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” © 2012 by Lucy Paquette

james_tissot_-_october

October (1877), by James Tissot.  Musee des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, Canada.  (Image:  Wikipedia.org)

Also striking is the simple brown floral dress worn by Mrs. Newton in By the Thames at Richmond, (c. 1878/79, Private Collection), three oil versions (and one watercolor version) of La sœur aînée (The Elder Sister, c. 1881) [below, an oil version], The Garden Bench (Le banc de jardin, c. 1882, Private Collection), and by the seated woman to the right in In Full Sunlight (En plein soleil, c. 1881, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) as well as the woman in the background in A Children’s Party (c. 1881/82).

display_image, Soeur

La soeur ainee (The Elder Sister, c. 1881), by James Tissot.

the-garden-bench

Le banc de jardin (The Garden Bench, c. 1882), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikiart.org)

dt2628

In Full Sunlight (En plein soleil, c. 1881), by James Tissot.  (Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S., Open Access).

children-s-partylarge

A Children’s Party (c. 1881/82), by James Tissot.

Kathleen Newton modeled for Tissot in the same green tartan gown in Room Overlooking the Harbour, (c. 1876-78 , Private Collection), The Warrior’s Daughter (The Convalescent, c. 1878, Manchester Art Gallery, U.K.), and Richmond Bridge (c. 1878, Private Collection).  And, hidden under a vibrant shawl, the dress reappears in A Type of Beauty (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1880).

room-overlooking-the-harbour

Room Overlooking the Harbour (c. 1876-78), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikiart.org)

the-warrior-s-daughter-or-the-convalescent

The Warrior’s Daughter (The Convalescent, c. 1878), by James Tissot.  Manchester Art Gallery, U.K.  (Image:  Wikiart.org)

kathleen_newton_a_type_of_beauty

A Type of Beauty (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1880), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikipedia.org).

the-terrace-of-the-trafalgar-tavern-greenwich-londonKathleen Newton is immediately recognizable in the caped greatcoat that Tissot portrayed her wearing, in numerous paintings including two versions of Waiting for the Ferry (c. 1878), The Ferry (c. 1879, Private Collection), Foreign Visitors to the Louvre (c. 1880), Departure Platform, Victoria Station (c. 1880), Goodbye” – On the Mersey (c. 1881), The Terrace of the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London (c. 1878) [left], and By Water (c. 1881-82), and even after her death in The Cab Road, Victoria Station (also known as Departure Platform, Victoria Station, 1895).

5ee721ebfb04db99e6d9153527c82fda

The Ferry (c. 1879), by James Tissot.

b2c91f50d073d61c102955e7d8851d5e

The Cab Road, Victoria Station (also known as Departure Platform, Victoria Station, 1895), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 58.50 by 30.50 cm.

Mrs. Newton also was immortalized in the elegant black gown, with its high neck and long sleeves and slim Princess line seaming, that Tissot featured in paintings including Hide and Seek (c. 1877, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), L’Été (Summer, 1878), La dame à l’ombrelle, Mme Newton (Woman with a Parasol, Mrs. Newton, c. 1878), Musée Baron Martin, France), The Rivals (I rivali, c. 1878-79, Private Collection), Orphans (L’Orpheline, c. 1879, Private Collection),  A Quiet Afternoon (1879), The Gardener (1879), Au bord de la mer (c. 1880), and The Hammock (Le hamac, 1879, Private Collection).

summer

L’ete (Summer, 1878), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikipaintings.org)

orphan

Orphans (L’Orpheline, c. 1879), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Image:  Wikiart)

BAL4975

Hide and Seek (c. 1877), by James Tissot.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

This review of the costumes Tissot re-used is far from complete, since there are numerous other examples; see James Tissot, edited by Krystyna Matyjaszkiewicz (© 1985).

Of course, Tissot painted many fashionable ensembles in unique images such as The Two Sisters (1863, Musée d’Orsay, France); At the Rifle Range (The Crack Shot, c. 1869, Wimpole Hall, U.K.); A Girl in an Armchair (The Convalescent, 1870, Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada); The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (Portsmouth) (c. 1876, Tate Britain, U.K.); and Le bal (Evening, c. 1878, Musée d’Orsay, France).  But shrewd man of business that he was, he also was able to create unique images reusing fashions – the summery white gown with the yellow ribbons, Kathleen Newton’s caped greatcoat, and especially that show-stopping black-and-white striped gown – that will be associated forever with James Tissot’s work.

Related post:

 James Tissot’s Fashion Plates (1864-1878):  A Guest Post by Lucy Paquette

©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

James Tissot (1836-1902): a brief biography by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web

James Tissot’s career spanned three successful periods: his early years in Paris (1859-1870), his business-like decade in London (1871-1882), and his later years in France and the Holy Land (1883-85), depicting fashionable women of Belle Époque Paris and making research trips for his series of Bible illustrations.

Born Jacques Joseph Tissot, his parents were self-made, prosperous merchants in the textile and fashion industry in the bustling seaport of Nantes. Jacques moved to Paris in 1856 to study painting and made his début at the Salon three years later, as James Tissot. Tissot and his painting, La Rencontre de Faust et de Marguerite (The Meeting of Faust and Marguerite) attracted the attention of the Comte de Nieuwerkerke, Director-General of Museums, who purchased the painting in 1860 on behalf of the government for the Luxembourg Museum for 5,000 francs. The provincial young painter achieved Establishment acceptance far sooner than his struggling friends, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and Édouard Manet (1832-1883).

Tissot’s paintings in the Salon in 1864 reflected the trend toward capturing “modernity,” and he began to hit his stride as an artist with The Two Sisters and Portrait of Mademoiselle L.L.

dt2117

James  Jacques Joseph Tissot (c. 1867-68), by Edgar Degas. Oil on canvas, 59 5/8 x 44 in. (151.4 x 111.8 cm). (Open Access image courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. Rogers Fund, 1939)

At the Paris Salon in 1866, Tissot was elected hors concours: from then on, he could exhibit any painting he wished at the annual Salon without first submitting his work to the jury’s scrutiny. The price for his pictures skyrocketed. At 30, he decided to purchase property on the most prestigious new thoroughfare in Paris, the avenue de l’Impèratrice (Empress Avenue, now avenue Foch). By late 1867 or early 1868, Tissot was living in grand style in his luxurious new villa.

In 1868, Tissot was commissioned to paint the most lucrative and elaborate painting of his career, a group portrait of “The Circle of the Rue Royale, an exclusive private club whose twelve members each paid 1,000 francs toward the painting.

In 1869, at the top of his game depicting the leisured and refined life of the Second Empire, Tissot began contributing wicked political caricatures to London’s newest Society journal, the subversive Vanity Fair, founded by Thomas Gibson Bowles (1842-1922). Tissot’s first subject was Napoléon III, whom he skewered.

When the Second Empire collapsed on September 2, 1870, Tissot’s charmed life in Paris ended. He became a sharpshooter, defending Paris in an elite unit, the Éclaireurs (Scouts) of the Seine. In the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War — the bloody Commune in mid-1871 — James Tissot fled Paris with 100 francs to his name, establishing himself in the competitive London art market by catering to the British taste. By 1873, he bought the lease on a spacious villa in St. John’s Wood, soon building an extension with a studio and huge conservatory.

Tissot had ceased to exhibit his work in the Salon in 1870 and declined Degas’s exhortation to show his work in Paris with the independent group of French artists who organized their first of eight exhibitions in Paris in 1874 and who soon became known as Impressionists. From 1872 to 1875, Tissot exhibited his work only at the Royal Academy, with works such as The Ball on Shipboard (1874). He generated a great deal of income selling prints of his paintings as well as watercolor replicas. By 1876, he had earned great wealth and lived in relative seclusion for six years with his mistress and muse, young divorcée Kathleen Irene Ashburnham Kelly Newton (1854-1882).

From 1877 to 1879, Tissot exhibited his work only at the new Grosvenor Gallery, an invitation-only alternative to the Royal Academy, where artists could showcase as many works as they wished in the palatial edifice in New Bond Street. Kathleen Newton posed for several works Tissot exhibited there, including Evening (1878) and The Hammock (1879).

When Mrs. Newton died of tuberculosis in late 1882, at age 28, Tissot abandoned his St. John’s Wood home and returned to Paris, selling his London house the next year to Dutch-born painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 ñ 1912).

Tissot exerted himself to re-establish his reputation in Paris with a series of fifteen large-scale pictures called La Femme de Paris (The Parisian Woman). Painted between 1883 and 1885, they portrayed the fashionable parisienne in various incarnations using brighter, modern colors than he had in his previous work, but they were poorly received. Tissot then supposedly dedicated the remainder of his life solely to illustrating the Bible, even making repeated research trips to the Holy Land in 1886-87, 1888 and 1889. His series of 365 gouache illustrations for the Life of Christ were shown to enthusiastic crowds in Paris (1894 and 1895), London (1896) and New York (1898) after which they toured North America until 1900. They were published in 1896-97 and in several later editions. However, during this time, Tissot also executed about forty portraits of aristocratic women and other beautiful Society figures in sumptuous Belle Époque settings from the mid-1880s to the early 1890s, most often using pastels.

James Tissot died in 1902, at age 66, extremely wealthy and renowned for what was considered his great masterpiece, The Life of Christ illustrations. In his obituary in The Evening Post, Tissot was compared to William Blake, though “uniting as Blake never did, and as no other prominent artist has done, the mystical and ideal with an intense realism.”

The Victorian Web is a vast resource on literature, history and culture in the age of Victoria.

My thanks to The Victorian Web‘s Editor-in-Chief and Webmaster, George Landow, and to Associate Editor Jackie Banerjee

Bibliography

Johnson, E. D. H. “Victorian Artists and the Urban Milieu. The Victorian City: Images and Realities. H. J. Dyos and Michael Wolff. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973. Pp. 449-74.

“Joseph Tissot, Artist.” Evening Post, 64.37 (12 August 1902).

Matyjaszkiewicz, Krystyna, ed. James Tissot. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985; Barbican Art Gallery, c. 1984.

Misfeldt, Willard. “James Jacques Joseph Tissot: A Bio-Critical Study.” Ph.D. diss., Washington University. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International, 1971.

Misfeldt, Willard E. J.J. Tissot: Prints from the Gotlieb Collection. Alexandria, Virginia: Art Services International, 1991.

Misfeldt, Willard E. The Albums of James Tissot. Bowling Green: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1982.

Wentworth, Michael. James Tissot. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.

Wentworth, Michael. James Tissot: Catalogue Raisonnée of his Prints. London: 1978.

Wood, Christopher. Tissot: The Life and Work of Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836-1902. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd., 1986.

 

 

Related post:

A James Tissot Chronology, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web

 

©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

 

A James Tissot Chronology, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web

BAL12493

Self portrait (c.1865), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 49.8 x 30.2 cm (19 5/8 x 11 7/8 in.). The Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California. Museum purchase, Mildred Anna Williams Collection, 1961.16. Image courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” by Lucy Paquette © 2012.

The Victorian Web, a vast resource on literature, history and culture in the age of Victoria, invited me to contribute a Chronology of the life of French painter James Tissot (1836-1902), whose successful career in London spanned a decade from 1871 to 1882.

1836 October 15: Jacques Joseph Tissot is born in Nantes, the second of four sons by Marcel-Théodore Tissot, a wholesale linen draper, and Marie Durand, who with her sister owns a millinery company.

c. 1848-55 Educated in Jesuit schools in Flanders, Brittany and the Jura.

1855 Enlists in the National Guard of the Seine, the Fourth Company of the Eighteenth Battalion when he arrives in Paris to study art. Rents a succession of student rooms in the Latin Quarter.

1857 January 26: Registers to copy paintings at the Louvre. Thought to have met James McNeill Whistler this year.

March 9: enrolls at the Académie des Beaux-Arts; studies painting independently under Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin and Louis Lamothe, both former students of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

1859 As James Tissot, makes debut at Salon in Paris with five works.

Meets Edgar Degas, probably due to whom he meets Édouard Manet.

Travels to Antwerp to take lessons with Hendrik Leys; meets Lourens Tadema [later Lawrence Alma-Tadema].

1860 The Comte de Nieuwerkerke, Director-General of Museums, purchases The Meeting of Faust and Marguerite on behalf of the government for the Luxembourg Museum for 5,000 francs.

c. 1860-61 Experiments with etching, a revived print-making technique.

1861 Exhibits six paintings at Salon.

May 4: mother dies, leaving him an inheritance.

1862 Visits London. One painting at International Exhibition. Meets John Everett Millais around this time.

Visits Milan, Venice and Florence.

1863 Three paintings at Salon.

Becomes lifelong friends with writer Alphonse Daudet.

Settles more than 100,000 francs in debt.

1864 Two paintings at Salon. One painting at Royal Academy (R.A): At the Break of Day.

November: Dante Gabriel Rossetti finds all the Japanese costumes at Paris import shops are “being snapped up by a French artist, Tissot, who it seems is doing three Japanese pictures.”

1865 Two paintings at Salon.

Two steel engravings after his illustrations included on the frontispiece and title page of Tom Taylor’s English translation of La Villemarque’s Barzaz-Breiz, Chants populaires de la Bretagne, which also featured several wood engravings in the text after Millais and others. D.G. Rossetti is so impressed by Tissot’s contributions that he requests a proof of each from the publisher.

By this year, is earning 70,000 francs a year as an easel painter.

1866 Two paintings at Salon; elected hors concours, entitled to submit work without jury review.

Purchases property at 64, avenue de l’Impératrice (now avenue Foch).

1867 Two paintings at Salon. Two paintings at Exposition Universelle, Paris.

1867-68 Moves into newly-constructed, luxurious villa in the avenue de l’Impératrice, his Paris residence for the rest of his life. His studio becomes a showcase for his renowned collection of Oriental art and a landmark to see when touring Paris.

His portrait in oil painted by Degas, who keeps it until his death in 1917.

1868 Four works at Salon.

Appointed drawing master of fourteen-year-old Japanese Prince Tokugawa Akitake, visiting Paris.

1869 Two paintings at Salon.

First political cartoons for Thomas Gibson Bowles’ Vanity Fair magazine, to which he contributes until 1877.

1870 Two paintings at Salon.

Second Empire collapses on September 2; joins Éclaireurs (Scouts) of the Seine, an elite sharpshooter unit defending Paris during the Prussian Siege.

October 3: Seeks refuge at rented lodgings of Thomas Gibson Bowles, in Paris as Morning Post war correspondent. Begins series of drawings to illustrate for Bowles’ book, The Defence of Paris, Narrated As It Was Seen (published 1871).

October 21: fights in the Battle of Malmaison and is wounded.

1871 One painting, Vive la République! (Un souper sous le Directoire, c. 1870), at Third International Exhibition, Vienna.

Remains in Paris during the Commune, recording numerous incidents in his sketchbook and in small watercolors. Relocates to London in June with only 100 francs; lodges with Thomas Gibson Bowles at Cleeve Lodge in Hyde Park Gate for several months.

June 19: inscribes drawing, French Soldier (1870) to Effie Millais.

British Society novelist Ouida invites Tissot to her home on June 21, where “some English artists will enjoy the great pleasure of meeting you & seeing your sketches.”

Tissot commissioned to paint a full-length portrait of Chichester Parkinson-Fortescue, 1st Baron Carlingford, funded by a group of eighty-one Irishmen including forty-nine MPs, five Roman Catholic bishops and twenty-seven peers to commemorate his term as Chief Secretary for Ireland under Gladstone – as a present to his wife, Society hostess Frances, Countess Waldegrave.

September 30: Degas writes from Paris, “They tell me you are earning a lot of money.”

1872 Two paintings at R.A.: An Interesting Story and Les Adieux. Four paintings at International Exhibition, London.

March: resides at 73, Springfield Road, St. John’s Wood.

1873 Purchases lease on villa at 17 (now 44), Grove End Road, St. John’s Wood.

Three paintings at R.A.: The Captain’s Daughter, The Last Evening, and Too Early.

1874 Three paintings at R.A.: London Visitors, Waiting, and The Ball on Shipboard.

Declines exhortation from Degas to participate in the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris. Makes trip to Paris.

Autumn: Travels to Venice with Manet.

November 3: Parisian novelist and art critic Edmond de Goncourt writes in his journal that Tissot has in his London house “a waiting room, where, at all times, there is iced champagne at the disposal of visitors, and around the studio, a garden where, all day long, one can see a footman in silk stockings brushing and shining the shrubbery leaves.”

1875 Two paintings at R.A.: The Bunch of Lilacs and Hush! (The Concert).

Builds an extension with a studio and a conservatory designed by architect J.M. Brydon that doubles the size of his St. John’s Wood villa.

Offers career advice to Berthe Morisot during her honeymoon in England with Eugène Manet. After one visit to his home, she writes to her mother that his paintings sell for as much as 300,000 francs each; she writes to a sister that he is “living like a king.”

Resumes etching, under the tutelage of Seymour Haden.

c. 1876 Kathleen Newton moves into Tissot’s St. John’s Wood home, and the couple lives in relative seclusion for six years.

1876 Three paintings at R.A.: The Thames, A Convalescent, and Quarrelling, and one etching, The Thames. Two etchings at Salon. Publishes first collection of etchings, of which he produces nearly ninety in the next decade.

Tissot’s etchings account for a significant and increasing proportion of his earnings between 1876 and 1881.

Late 1870s: Tissot begins to produce cloisonné enamels.

1877 Ten works at Grosvenor Gallery.

1878 Nine works at Grosvenor Gallery.

November 23-24: Refuses to testify for Whistler in his libel suit against John Ruskin.

1878-82 Exhibits work throughout Britain, in Brighton, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Wrexham, Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham, and in London galleries.

1879 Twelve works at Grosvenor Gallery.

1880 Becomes a charter member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, founded by Seymour Haden for artists who produced their own prints of their paintings. Begins exhibiting his prints regularly in England and Scotland.

September 24: Vincent van Gogh writes to his brother of Tissot, “there is something of the human soul in his work and that is why he is great, immense, infinite…”

1881 Two paintings at R.A.: Quiet and Goodbye – On the Mersey.

1882 Spring: One-man exhibition at the Dudley Gallery, London, “Exhibition of Modern Art by J. J. Tissot” includes Prodigal Son series, eight paintings, and fifty-eight etchings as well as twenty-one cloisonné enamels.

May: Visits Paris to discuss illustrations for a novel by Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Renée Mauperin(published 1884).

November 9: Kathleen Newton dies from tuberculosis at Tissot’s St. John’s Wood home.

November 14: Kathleen Newton’s funeral, immediately after which Tissot moves back to Paris.

1883 March: One-man exhibition at Palais de l’Industrie; works include his cloisonné collection.

Begins series of large-scale oil paintings, La Femme à Paris (Women of Paris).

Joins Société d’aquarellistes français and exhibits his work.

Sells his St. John’s Wood home to Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

1884 Exhibits with Société d’aquarellistes français.

1885 La Femme à Paris series exhibited at Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris, along with his cloisonné collection. Continues to produce cloisonné enamels, but all of them remain in his possession.

Joins new Société de pastellistes français and exhibits work. From the mid-1880s to the early 1890s, executes about forty portraits of aristocratic and Society women, most often in pastel.

Engagement to Louise Riesener, daughter of painter Léon Riesener, broken by her.

May 20: Makes contact with Kathleen Newton’s spirit during a séance and records it in L’apparition médiunimique.

1885-86 First trip to Palestine to research his illustrated Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

1886 Women of Paris exhibited at Arthur Tooth and Sons, London as Pictures of Parisian Life by J.J. Tissot.

Exhibits with Société d’aquarellistes français.

1887 Exhibits at least one painting, Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern (1874), at Nottingham Castle and at Newcastle-on-Tyne.

1888 Three works at International Exhibition, Glasgow.

Father dies, leaving him the Château de Buillon, near Besançon. During his remaining years, lives partly in Paris and partly at the Château, improving the building and grounds.

1889 Exhibits Prodigal Son series, for which he wins a gold medal, and one painting at the Exhibition Universelle, Paris.

Second trip to Palestine to research his illustrated Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

1893 Exhibits Prodigal Son series and a pastel portrait in World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago.

1894 Exhibits 270 illustrations for La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ at Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

1895 Exhibits complete series of 365 Life of Christ illustrations in Paris.

About this year, begins colossal Christ Pantocrator for high altar of the convent church of the Dominicans in the rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris.

1896 Exhibits complete Life of Christ series in London. La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ published in France, with the artist receiving a million francs for reproduction rights.

Third trip to Palestine to begin an illustrated Old Testament (published 1904). On the ship, English artist George Percy Jacomb-Hood encounters Tissot and finds him “a very neatly dressed, elegant figure, with a grey military moustache and beard…gloved and groomed as if for the boulevard.”

1897 Exhibits Life of Christ illustrations at Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

The Life of Our Saviour Jesus Christ published in London and New York.

December: Christ Pantocrator dedication ceremony.

1898 February: Visits New York to arrange tour of Life of Christ illustrations.

October: Visits Chicago to arrange tour of Life of Christ illustrations before traveling to New York for exhibition opening.

November 18: After calling on Archbishop Corrigan in New York, is dragged nearly a block when trying to board a Madison Avenue line trolley car, leaving him bruised and unnerved.

New Testament watercolors tour New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha, and other cities through 1899, to adoring crowds.

1900 New Testament watercolors acquired by the Brooklyn Museum by public subscription of $60,000.

1901 Exhibits 95 Old Testament illustrations at Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

1902 August 8: dies at Château de Buillon after being stricken by a “pernicious fever.”

References

Guerin, Marcel, ed. Degas: Letters. Trans. By Marguerite Kay. Oxford: Bruno Cassirer, 1947.

Marshall, Nancy Rose and Malcolm Warner. James Tissot: Victorian Life/Modern Love. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999.

Matyjaszkiewicz, Krystyna, ed. James Tissot. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985, c. 1984 Barbican Art Gallery.

Misfeldt, Willard. “James Jacques Joseph Tissot: A Bio-Critical Study,” Ph.D. diss., Washington University. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International, 1971.

Misfeldt, Willard E. J.J. Tissot: Prints from the Gotlieb Collection. Alexandria, Virginia: Art Services International, 1991.

Warner, Malcolm. Tissot. London: The Medici Society Ltd. 1982.

Wentworth, Michael. James Tissot. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.

Wood, Christopher. Tissot: The Life and Work of Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836-1902. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd., 1986.

My thanks to The Victorian Web‘s Editor-in-Chief and Webmaster, George Landow,      and to Associate Editor Jackie Banerjee

©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

 

James Tissot’s Mourners at Auction

 

All auction prices listed are for general reader interest only, and are shown in this order:    $ (USD)/£ (GBP).  All prices listed are Hammer Price (the winning bid amount) unless noted as Premium, indicating that the figure quoted includes the Buyer’s Premium of an additional percentage charged by the auction house, as well as taxes.

The whereabouts of James Tissot’s The Widow (Une Veuve, 1868), exhibited at the Salon in Paris in 1869, was for many years unknown by art historians.  It was known to the art world only because Tissot had included it in a photograph album of his work; he was one of the first painters to document his entire oeuvre using photography.

james_tissot_-_a_widow

A Widow (Une veuve, 1868), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 27 by 19.5 in. (68.5 by 49.5 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The Widow was purchased during World War II at Acquavella, the New York gallery, and was hung in a mansion abroad.  In September, 1982, it was discovered, hanging behind a door, by Thilo von Watzdorf (b. 1944), Sotheby’s 19th century art specialist, who was visiting the owner to see other paintings in her collection.

Scholars enhanced interest in Tissot’s life and work during the 1980s, and dozens of Tissot oils changed hands from 1980-89.

Sotheby’s estimated The Widow would bring $150,000 to $200,000 at auction, breaking the record high for a Tissot of $148,230 set for his Return of the Prodigal Son at Christie’s, London, in 1982.

The Widow was offered in a sale of 19th century European paintings, drawings and watercolors at Sotheby’s, New York in February, 1983, bringing $ 185,000 USD/£ 121,105 GBP.

In June 1992, The Widow brought $ 277,800 USD/£ 150,000 GBP at a sale of Victorian Pictures & Watercolours at Christie’s, London.

In early 1993, Victorian art expert Christopher Wood (1941 – 2009) commented on the popularity of James Tissot’s oil paintings among Manhattan Society hostesses:  “I can think of ten to twenty Tissots within a few blocks of each other in New York.”

In New York in February of that year, Sotheby’s offered three major Tissot paintings, and Christie’s two.

tissot_sans_dot

Sans dot (Without Dowry, 1883-85), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 58 by 41 in. (147.32 by 104.14 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The three paintings at Sotheby’s, from Tissot’s series of fifteen large-scale pictures called La Femme à Paris (The Parisian Woman) painted between 1883 and 1885, included Sans Dot (Without Dowry), which sold for $ 800,000/£ 553,824.

orphan

Orphans (L’Orpheline, 1879), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 85 by 43 in. (216 by 109.2 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The next day, at Christie’s sale of 19th Century European Paintings, Drawings & Watercolors, Tissot’s L’Orpheline (Orphans, 1879), featuring Tissot’s mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton (1854 – 1882).  L’Orpheline was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1879.  Expected to bring $ 600,000- 800,000/£ 400,000- 530,000), the painting set a new record for a Tissot oil when sold for $ 2,700,000/£ 1,867,865 to art dealer David Mason, with MacConnal-Mason, a fourth generation gallery in St. James established in 1893.  Mason was acting on behalf of musical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (b. 1948), who in the next decade would collect some of Tissot’s best work – at very high prices.

james_tissot_-_the_widower_-_google_art_project

The Widower (Le veuf, c. 1877), by James Tissot. Oil on panel. 14 by 9 in. (35.56 by 22.86 cm)  Private Collection.  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Still, there were some bargains to be found:  Lloyd Webber purchased The Widower (c. 1887), a smaller replica of the original which Tissot exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877, at Sotheby’s, London in 1994 for $ 122,587/£ 75,000.

the-rivals-800x600

The Rivals (1878 – 1879), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 36.22 by 26.77 in. (92 by 68 cm). Private collection.

In October, 2014, Tissot’s The Rivals (I rivali, 1878–79) was sold at Casa d’Aste Pandolfini, Florence, Italy.  Set in Tissot’s conservatory, it depicts Kathleen Newton cast as a young widow, crocheting while taking tea with two suitors, one middle-aged and one old.  Tissot exhibited it with a number of other works at London’s Grosvenor Gallery in 1879, and that same year, it was shown at the Royal Manchester Institution’s Exhibition of Modern Paintings and Sculpture, priced at £400.  It was purchased by John Polson, of Tranent and Thornly [who also owned Tissot’s A Portrait (1876, Tate, London)], and sold by his executors at Christie’s, London in 1911.  It then belonged to Sir Edward James Harland (1831–1895), head of the Belfast shipbuilding firm of Harland and Wolff and sometime M.P. for North Belfast, of Glenfarne Hall, near Enniskillen, Ireland and Baroda House in Kensington Palace Gardens, London, where it was sold by his executors at Christie’s upon his widow’s death in 1912.  Since 1913, The Rivals has been in private collections in Milan, beginning with the Ingegnoli Collection.  It was sold by Paul Ingegnoli’s executors at Galleria Pesaro in 1933 and purchased by a Milanese private collector.  It was displayed in public again only in Milan, at the Palazzo della Permanente, La Mostra Nazionale di Pittura, “L’Arte e il Convito,” in 1957.  At the October 2014 sale, The Rivals was purchased for € 954,600 EUR (Premium) [$ 1,215,969/£ 753,715].  The Rivals, in pristine condition, was displayed at the Stair Sainty Gallery booth at TEFAF, the world’s leading art fair, in Maastricht, Netherlands, March 13-22, 2015.

Related posts:

James Tissot’s popularity boom in the 1980s

Celebrities & Millionaires Vie for Tissot’s Paintings in the 1990s

James Tissot in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection

Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series

James Tissot in Mourning

©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.