The Hammock’s Six-Year Anniversary: Top Ten Tissot Posts (2012-2018) by Lucy Paquette

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot was published in October, 2012, and I began this blog, The Hammock, in September of that year.

lucy-2-2In these past six years, French painter James Tissot and his work have become increasingly familiar to the public.

I have publicized my novel and my blog on the Internet and social media, engaging with a worldwide audience. Though the majority of my readers are from the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, I am amazed at the tally of countries showing up on my blog readership daily, from Ecuador to Estonia, Iceland to Zimbabwe, Monaco to Nepal.

Readers in the United Kingdom and France are more aware of Tissot and his work, mainly because more of his paintings are on display in public collections in those countries.

Many people elsewhere tell me they had never heard of Tissot before, and many more that they had no idea how beautiful his paintings are. Books on James Tissot and his work can be quite expensive and are not readily available in many public libraries, or even in art museum shops.

img_6912After Tissot’s death in 1902, interest in his work declined until Victorian art regained popularity in the 1960s.

In 1968, there was a major retrospective of his work in Rhode Island and Toronto, and another in London in 1983-84. In 2015-16, there was an exhibition of his work – the first ever – in Rome (James Tissot is now in Italy!).

Recent museum exhibitions have made it possible for a wider audience to view Tissot’s work. (See Tissot in the new millenium: Museum Exhibitions, A spotlight on Tissot at the Met’s “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity”, and A spotlight on Tissot at the Tate’s “The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London”.)

photo8-the-one-to-use-2Much of Tissot’s work is privately owned (for instance, see James Tissot in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection). There are only ninety oil paintings by James Tissot in public art collections worldwide:  twenty-six in the U.K., two in the Republic of Ireland, twenty-three in France, one in Belgium, one in Switzerland, twenty-five in the continental U.S. and one in Puerto Rico, six in Canada, one in India, two in New Zealand, and two in Australia. Many of these pictures are not, or not often, on display, and opportunities to see them in other locations are rare. Of these ninety, I’ve viewed forty-two, as well as two in private collections.

 

james_tissot_-_portrait_of_the_marquis_and_marchioness_of_miramon_and_their_children_-_google_art_project

The most recent museum acquisitions highlight Tissot’s most stunning work. The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their children (1865) was acquired from the family by the Musée d’Orsay in 2006; the first time it had been exhibited anywhere else since 1866 was in the blockbuster exhibition, Impressionism, Fashion, and ModernityClick this link to an interactive image for a closer look.

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The J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, California, acquired Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866) from the family in 2007. Tissot received permission from her husband, who had commissioned the portrait, to display it at the 1867 Paris International Exhibition, where this private image was seen by the public for the first time – the only time, until the Getty purchased it. I saw this gorgeous painting in May, 2013, when it was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. You can click this link to an interactive image for a closer look.

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In 1868, most likely due to the Marquis de Miramon, Tissot was commissioned to paint the most lucrative and elaborate painting of his career, a group portrait of the twelve members of The Circle of the Rue Royale. The members decided who would own the painting through a drawing; the winner was Baron Hottinger, seated to the right of the sofa. The Musée d’Orsay acquired The Circle of the Rue Royale in 2011 from Baron Hottinguer’s descendants for about 4 million euros. It also was included with Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, and as with Tissot’s other two large paintings, it drew crowds. (See Tissot in the new millenium: Museum Acquisitions.)

photo-3Writing this blog is a labor of love, a way to share some of my research on James Tissot’s life and work, and is limited only by the necessity of avoiding copyrighted images. Since I began six years ago, more high resolution, Open Access images have been made available, notably through The Getty Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My husband, who has become an informed fan of Tissot’s work, photographs me with it and often takes excellent close-ups of Tissot’s brushwork and details.

civic-7a-use-tho-my-feet-cut-offWhile conducting research for the blog, I’ve enjoyed a private tour of Tissot’s former home in London (now a family residence; see A visit to James Tissot’s house & Kathleen Newton’s grave), trips to the U.K. including The James Tissot Tour of Victorian England and A spotlight on Tissot at the Tate’s “The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London”, and a tour of Paris highlighting places Tissot would have lived and visited (The James Tissot Tour of Paris). I’ve met museum curators and research librarians for private tours and discussions, and I’ve viewed stored Tissot paintings and drawings (see James Tissot’s “A Civic Procession” (c. 1879), Tissot in the U.S.: The Speed Museum, Kentucky, and Tissot’s Study for “Young Women looking at Japanese Objects” (1869)).

img_3706-image-for-blogI’ve visited museums and galleries, large and small, in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and France, studying Tissot’s paintings, for my “A Closer Look” series, in which I share my (and my husband’s) photographs and experiences with you. Another series of articles explores Tissot’s work in various countries and regions within them; a subsequent series follows Tissot’s work and reputation in the decades between his death and the new millennium; another highlights masculine fashion in Tissot’s paintings; yet another focuses on various stages of Tissot’s work:

James Tissot’s Medieval Paintings, 1858-67

James Tissot’s Faust series, 1860-65

James Tissot’s Directoire series, 1868-71

“The three wonders of the world”: Tissot’s japonisme,1864-67

James Tissot’s Georgian Girls, c. 1872

Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series

Belle Époque Portraits in Pastel by James Tissot

still-on-topI’ve collected little-known items of interest about Tissot’s works, such as the near-destruction of one of his most beautiful images, Still on Top (c. 1874), in the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki  in New Zealand, in Tissot around the world: India, Japan, Australia & New Zealand, and the existence of Tissot’s Study for the family of the Marquis de Miramon (1865).

I’ve presented sales information, including For sale:  In the Conservatory (Rivals), c. 1875, by James Tissot, For sale: A Visit to the Yacht, c. 1873, by James Tissot, and Tissot in the new millennium: Oils at Auction, as well as a comparison of the market value of Tissot’s work and that of his contemporaries, in The Stars of Victorian Painting: Auction Prices. I also researched Oil paintings by James Tissot registered with the Nazi Era Provenance Internet Portal (NEPIP).

type-of-beauty-portrait-of-mrs-kathleen-newton-in-a-red-dress-and-black-bonnet-1880In other posts, I’ve presented little-known information about Tissot himself:  Tissot’s Romances, Was Cecil Newton James Tissot’s son?, Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?, and More “Plagiarists”: Tissot’s friends Manet, Degas, Whistler & Others. You’ll find plenty of articles on Tissot’s beautiful young mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton, including James Tissot’s Model and Muse, Kathleen Newton, James Tissot Domesticated, and James Tissot in the 1940s: La Mystérieuse is identified.

And, of course, I’ve addressed The Missing Tissot Nudes!

Of my 152 posts, varying in length from about 500 to 3500 words, here are the Top Ten with the highest readership on my blog, as of October 12, 2018:

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

9         James Tissot’s brilliant marketing tool, 1869

8         James Tissot oils at auction: Seven favorites

7        A spotlight on Tissot at the Met’s “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity”

6        “The three wonders of the world”: Tissot’s japonisme,1864-67

5        A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Too Early”

4        “The Future of French Art”: Henri Regnault (1843-1871)

3        Kathleen Newton by James Tissot: eight auctioned oil paintings

2        Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series

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

img_3475, Lucy with Hide and Seek (2)While I began my research on James Tissot in 2009, when drafting my novel, it’s been in the six years since I launched this blog that I’ve been contacted by individuals with unexpected, wonderful, documented facts to share related to James Tissot and his work, including biographical details of people he knew, information on his Paris villa, close-up photographs of some of Tissot’s works I have not been able to visit, a hot tip on an unannounced, temporary exhibition of three of his privately-owned masterpieces at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford last year, and the name of a celebrity owner* of one of his most recognizable paintings, as well as the gift of a scholarly work by a Tissot-loving museum curator I befriended through my blog. All of this spontaneous generosity is a remarkable feature of the support I’ve enjoyed.

img_0551-2-copyright-lucy-paquetteSo, a heartfelt thank you – to all of you who read my blog, and to my husband, who contributes such helpful images to it. Through it, I’ve met the loveliest people, was invited to serve as a guest blogger, a contributor to The Victorian Web, and recently was interviewed for an art podcast:

james_tissot_-_the_fanI have built my own library of scholarly works on James Tissot, but they are largely biocritical studies: there is so little documentation on Tissot’s life that his work often has to speak for him. My research centers on finding new information on his personality and actions, particularly during the Franco-Prussian War and Commune, using previously unconsidered primary sources. When his elderly, eccentric niece died in his château in eastern France in 1964, all his papers and drawings were auctioned off. But also, there are very few accounts of him by his contemporaries. In addition, Tissot often seems to fall through the cracks of art history – as his work straddled French academic style, Realism, French Impressionism, and Victorian painting. He left France for eleven years, and while he was successful in London, he was not British. Tissot often is overlooked because he belongs to no category, really, but his own.

img_1036James Tissot has a great story that hasn’t been told, and I encourage you to read The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot

James Tissot’s work has proven a crowd-pleaser, in the 2012-13 show Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity; 2013’s James Tissot: Painting the Victorian Woman at The Hepworth, Wakefield, U.K.; the 2015-16 exhibition James Tissot at the Bramante Cloister inside Santa Maria della Pace Church in Rome; and 2017-18’s Impressionists in London.

img_1343The most recent retrospective of his work in North America, and the only one since the first in 1968 (in Rhode Island and Toronto), was James Tissot:  Victorian Life/Modern Love, an exhibition that began at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, in 1999, and then traveled to the Musée du Québec, Canada, and the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York. But a major retrospective of his work will be held in Paris and San Francisco in 2020. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to be invited to contribute some of the extensive new scholarship I have to offer on James Tissot’s life and work.

[*] If you’re curious, see Celebrities & Millionaires Vie for Tissot’s Paintings in the 1990s!

©  2018 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

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.

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Tea and Tissot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I’ve just been to New York for Tea, the only painting by James Tissot on display in the city – and the state.

IMG_0214 (2), copyright Lucy PaquetteTea (1872), oil on wood, 26 by 18 7/8 in. (66 by 47.9 cm), was one of Tissot’s eighteenth-century paintings calculated to appeal to British collectors once he had moved to London in mid-1871, following the Franco-Prussian War and its bloody aftermath, the Paris Commune.

Tissot’s great friend, Edgar Degas, owned a pencil study for Tea. 

Tea is a version of another of Tissot’s oils from 1872, Bad News (The Parting), now in the collection of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

nmwa184, Bad News-The Parting, Wales

Bad News (The Parting), 1872, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff

Tea was in a private collection in Rome, Italy in 1968.  It was with Somerville & Simpson, Ltd., London, by 1979-81, when it was consigned to Mathiessen Fine Art Ltd., London.  The painting was purchased from Mathiessen by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, New York.

Charles B. Wrightsman (1895–1986), president of Standard Oil of Kansas and a tournament polo player, married his second wife, Jayne Larkin (b. 1919) from Flint, Michigan, in 1944.  The couple began collecting fine art in 1952, and Mr. Wrightsman was elected to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees in 1956.  In 1961, the Wrightsmans’ collection was described by The New York Times as “one of the most important private collections in the world.”

Socialite, philanthropist and fine arts collector Mrs. Charles Wrightsman was elected to the Met’s Board of Trustees in 1975.  Upon Mr. Wrightsman’s death in 1986, the collection became her sole property.

Mrs. Wrightsman owned Tea until 1998, when she gifted it, and eventually three other Tissot oil paintings, to the Met.

Though the Met’s collection included these four Tissot oils between 2006 and 2013, none was displayed.

En plein soleil (In the Sunshine, c. 1881) was purchased in 1983 by Mr. and Mrs. Wrightsman.  Mrs. Wrightsman kept the picture until 2006, when she gifted it to the Met.

Spring Morning (c. 1875) was purchased in 1981, as Matinée de printemps, by Mr. and Mrs. Wrightsman.  Mrs. Wrightsman gifted it to the Met in 2009.

In the Conservatory (Rivals) was purchased by the Wrightsmans in 1981.  Mrs. Wrightsman gifted Rivals to the Met in 2009.  Inexplicably, this major work among the Tissot oils donated to the Met by Mrs. Wrightsman was deaccessioned in 2013.

When I wrote, “New York, New York!  It has everything – except paintings by James Tissot that you can see,” in Tissot in the U.S.:  New York (December 10, 2013), the Met still was exhibiting none of its Tissots.  Tea was put on display in 2014.

IMG_2163, Tea by Tissot, Met, copyright Rick Zuercher

Tea (1872), by James Tissot.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.  (Photo:  R. Zuercher)

Tea includes Tissot’s beautiful and deftly painted surfaces:  the wood table, silver tea service, porcelain, the flocked fabric of the woman’s gown and her black lace mitts.  Here are some close-ups from my visit for you to enjoy!

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IMG_0174 (2)

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DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image

Tea (1872), by James Tissot. Oil on wood, 26 x 18 7/8 in. (66 x 47.9 cm.). Metropolitan Museum of Art, Open Access

Here are more details, from the Met’s Open Access image, above, in which you can see how Tissot painted reflections, shadows, and details in the distance:

DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image (4)

DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image (2)

DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image (3)
DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image (5)

DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image (6)

DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image (7)

 

Below, you can compare Tea and the left side of Bad News (The Parting).  While at first glance they look identical, there are many differences:  the position of the wooden blinds, the scenes outside the windows, the shapes of the silver trays, the coffeepots, and the urns, the placement of the cakes and the chairs, and the style of the wooden tables.  As always with Tissot’s oil paintings, there is more than meets the eye.
DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image                     nmwa184, Bad News-The Parting, Wales (3)

Related posts:

Tissot in the U.S.:  New York

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

A spotlight on Tissot at the Met’s “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity”

© 2018 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

CH377762The 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.

NOTE:  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.

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.

 

John Atkinson Grimshaw and James Tissot

French painter James Tissot’s success in England from 1871 to 1882 inspired at least one English artist:  John Atkinson Grimshaw.  Grimshaw, who like Tissot was born in 1836, now is best known for his glowing Victorian moonlight scenes.

Whitby Harbor by Moonlight - John Atkinson Grimshaw

Whitby Harbour by Moonlight (1867), by John Atkinson Grimshaw.  (Photo:  Wikiart)

John Atkinson Grimshaw (Photo:  Wikipedia)

But self-taught, Grimshaw began with still lifes influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, which he started exhibiting in his birthplace, the industrial city of Leeds, in the 1860s.  He had become a clerk at the Great Northern Railway at age 16, married in 1858 at age 22, and, after painting from nature in the parks and fields outside the city for a few years, began to sell his paintings in Leeds.  His work became popular in the area, and he gave up his job at age 25.  He began exhibiting his work in 1862, and in 1865, moved his growing family to Knostrop Hall, a Jacobean manor house [demolished in 1960] two miles east of Leeds Tissot on the Aire River.

By the 1870s, Grimshaw’s work was being promoted by London art dealer William Agnew.  He painted his first moonlight scene, Whitby Harbour by Moonlight, in 1867, but in search of new subjects to appeal to collectors as his reputation spread to the capital, he began imitating the work of other artists, including Dutch-born Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 –1912) and James Tissot, both of whom recently had emigrated to London and had found spectacular success.

Tissot’s Too Early was a sensation at the Royal Academy in 1873, and it was purchased and sold by William Agnew.  Grimshaw made his debut at the Royal Academy exhibition in 1874 with the acceptance of The Lady of the Lea, and around 1875, his paintings were exhibited regularly at Agnew’s prestigious galleries.  His work sold well, to the same type of wealthy industrialists who purchased Tissot’s paintings.

The Fan

The Fan (1875), by James Tissot.

Il Penseroso - John Atkinson Grimshaw

Il Penseroso (1875), by John Atkinson Grimshaw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some examples of Grimshaw’s paintings inspired by Tissot’s style, subject matter, composition, and in some cases, his palette.

           

Above left, The Japanese Scroll (c. 1874), by James Tissot; right, Spring (1875), by John Atkinson Grimshaw.  Grimshaw’s fashionable lady relaxes near a large window overlooking a serene private garden; as in Tissot’s picture, the elegant interior features the Oriental bric-à-brac so stylish during this period.

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

 

 

Above left, Young Women looking at Japanese articles (1869), by James Tissot; right, Summer (1875), by John Atkinson Grimshaw.  Grimshaw showcases the lady’s bustle, à la Tissot, in an affluent home filled with Oriental items.

File:James Tissot - In an English Garden.jpg          

Above left, In an English Garden (1878), by James Tissot; right, In the Pleasaunce (1875), by John Atkinson Grimshaw.  Tissot’s scene was painted in his garden in St. John’s Wood, London, and Grimshaw’s was painted at “Ye Old Hall/Knostrop, Leeds.”  The compositions of both scenes rely on the well-dressed women as focal points in the elaborate settings.

File:L'impératrice Eugénie et son fils - 1878 - James Tissot.jpg          

Above, left, The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst (c. 1874), by James Tissot; right, Autumn Regrets (1882), by John Atkinson Grimshaw.  Grimshaw, taking a cue from Tissot, uses weather and the season to convey mood in his melancholy outdoor scene.

In 1876, at the height of his career, Grimshaw bought a second home, Castle-by-the-Sea, in the resort town of Scarborough, and he moved there with his family.  But three years later, when a friend reneged on a substantial loan, Grimshaw, as guarantor, found himself in debt.  The house in Scarborough was sold, the family returned to Knostrop Hall, and in 1880, Grimshaw rented a studio in Chelsea, London, where he could focus on his work and accelerate his production of pictures.

After Tissot’s young mistress died in 1882, and he immediately returned to Paris, Grimshaw was mainly painting the moonlight scenes that proved popular, and even were admired by James McNeill Whistler, who said, “I considered myself the inventor of nocturnes until I saw Grimmy’s moonlit pictures.”  Grimshaw died in 1893, known for his moonlit landscapes; Tissot died in 1902, famous at that time for his Bible illustrations.

Related posts:

James Tissot and Alfred Stevens

What became of James Tissot and Alfred Stevens?

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

More “Plagiarists”: Tissot’s friends Manet, Degas, Whistler & Others

 

© 2018 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

CH377762The 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.

NOTE:  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.

James Tissot’s Modern Paintings in Victorian England

French painter James Tissot emigrated from Paris to London in mid-1871, in the chaos after the Franco-Prussian War and bloody Commune, and became successful in Victorian England within a few years.   In 1873, he sold Too Early through London art dealer William Agnew (1825 – 1910) – who specialized in “high-class modern paintings” – for 1,050 guineas.  Agnew purchased The Ball on Shipboard from Tissot the following year, and in 1875, purchased Hush! directly from the wall of the Royal Academy by for 1,200 guineas.

What made Tissot’s paintings “modern”?  How were his pictures of everyday life different from those painted by his English contemporaries?

James Tissot (1836 – 1902), an astute businessman keenly aware of buyers’ preferences, painted many subjects that his English contemporaries did.  But while Victorian painters like George Dunlop Leslie (1835 – 1921) depicted genteel women behaving well – docile and proper – Tissot was a bit daring.  Like others, he also painted a woman (his mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton) reading – but his model is a bit of a rebel, wearing eye makeup and a gown with a revealing neckline, improper as a day dress.  In Her Favorite Pastime, Leslie presents us with a straightforward rendering of a pretty and sedate woman focused on her book.  In Tissot’s Quiet, Kathleen is sitting – quite indecorously – with her legs crossed, somewhat slumped forward, against a racy leopard skin.  Yet, the image is of a loving mother, the exhausted girl leaning lovingly against her, and the resting dog underscores the domesticity of the scene while the expansive green lawn behind them indicates the wealth of the household.

        File:James Tissot - Quiet.jpg

Left:  Her Favorite Pastime (1864), by George Dunlop Leslie

Right:  Quiet (c. 1881), by James Tissot

While his English contemporaries depicted the ideal of contented domestic life, with family members often in stiffly posed compositions, Tissot’s showed a casual reality.  George Goodwin Kilburne’s The Piano Lesson relies on the single child obediently taking instruction and a symmetrical composition to show us the orderliness of this family’s conduct.  In Kathleen Newton at the Piano, Tissot gives us a peek behind the curtain dividing the formal front parlor from the informal room behind, where Kathleen, her two children, and an older niece huddle affectionately near her as she plays for them.

                Kathleen Newton at the Piano, c.1881 - James Tissot

Left:  The Piano Lesson (1871), by George Goodwin Kilburne

Right:  Kathleen Newton at the Piano (c. 1881), by James Tissot

In A Mother’s Darling, Kilburne depicts the girl as a little woman; in The Garden Bench, Kathleen Newton’s son, daughter and niece are children behaving spontaneously.

      File:Tissot Garden Bench.jpg

Left:  A Mother’s Darling (1869), by George Goodwin Kilburne

Right:  The Garden Bench (c. 1882), by James Tissot

The four pictures of afternoon tea below, two by Leslie and two by Tissot, illustrate Leslie’s literal manner and Tissot’s rather racy take on this British ritual.  While Leslie’s lone ladies are being served by a housemaid and dreaming wistfully into the distance, Tissot’s social beings are using the occasion to flirt and sum up available suitors.

         

Left:  Afternoon Tea (1865), by George Dunlop Leslie

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

       

Left:  Five o’Clock Tea (c. 1874), by George Dunlop Leslie

Right:  The Rivals (I rivali, 1878–79), by James Tissot

Below, in Alice in Wonderland, Leslie depicts an iconic family moment as a mother stimulates the imagination of her daughter by reading aloud to her on a stiff sofa, attired in a proper day dress with a bustle.  The girl, in her tidy dress, apron and black stockings, has set aside her doll to listen, her dreamy face against her mother’s bosom showing the effect of the story on her imagination.  In Reading a Story, Tissot depicts a similar scene in a natural setting, with a mother (Kathleen Newton) informally flipping pages on a comfortably-padded garden bench with a little girl who, though engaged, looks a bit fidgety as well as windblown from outdoor play.

        

Left:  Alice in Wonderland (1879), by George Dunlop Leslie

Right:  Reading a Story (c. 1878-79), by James Tissot

Tissot did not portray Victorian poverty, or even attempt to document the reality of the era’s social ills.  In the images below, Philip Hermogenes Calderon (1833 – 1898) and George Adolphus Storey (1834 – 1919) depict destitute orphans in an attempt at realism colored with sentimentality.  Tissot’s upper-class orphan, accompanied by the expensively-dressed woman modeled by Kathleen Newton, is somber, but sentimental in an essentially decorative way.

File:Philip Hermogenes Calderon - The Orphans.jpg         File:James Tissot - Orphan.jpg

Above left:  Orphans (1870), by Philip Hermogenes Calderon

Above right:  L’Orpheline (1879), by James Tissot

Right:  Orphans (1879), by George Adolphus Storey

 

 

The pictures below perfectly capture the difference between Tissot’s “modern” paintings and those of his Victorian peers.

         The Letter, c.1876 - c.1878 - James Tissot

Above left:  Considering a Reply (c. 1860), by George Dunlop Leslie

Above right:  The Letter (c. 1878), by James Tissot

Right:  Reading the Letter (1885), by Thomas Benjamin Kennington

While Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856 – 1916) depicts a woman reading a letter, and George Dunlop Leslie shows us a woman who has read a letter and now must consider how to reply, Tissot gives us a woman who, having read her letter, rips it to shreds that billow away in the wind.  Kennington’s and Dunlop’s compositions are simple, but Tissot provides an air of tantalizing mystery around his subject:  the woman stalks toward us through an elegant, landscaped garden while the remnants of her luncheon, or tea, are being cleared by a footman.  Who is she?  We are drawn into her drama, and are all the more curious about the contents of her letter.
File:James Tissot - Hide and Seek.jpg

James Tissot, unlike his Victorian peers, did not portray women gathering flowers or gazing at themselves in a mirror, or brides, or women sewing or dancing.

But for a cozy scene of a Victorian lady  minding her children, he gave us Hide and Seek (left, c. 1877), in which Kathleen Newton lounges in an upholstered armchair, absorbed in a newspaper in a corner of his opulent studio while her children and those of her sister scamper about.

While Tissot used the brighter palette of the Impressionists in France, his perspective can be ascribed to his nationality only partially:  his subject matter and his innate humor were unique.

©  2018 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

Related posts:

The Stars of Victorian Painting: Auction Prices

Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot

The James Tissot Tour of Victorian England

French Painter James Tissot’s British Clients: Rising Industrialists, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web

James Tissot and the Pre-Raphaelites

James Tissot’s Model and Muse, Kathleen Newton

ICH377762f 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/B009P5RYV

James Tissot and the Pre-Raphaelites

There is very little documentation on James Tissot’s personality, behavior, and habits, including his interaction with the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  We can only extrapolate their relationships based on a few known facts.

dante_gabriel_rossetti_-_ecce_ancilla_domini21_-_google_art_project

Ecce Ancilla Domini! (The Annunciation, 1849-50), by D. G. Rossetti (Photo:  Wikipedia.org)

The leading members of the P.R.B., all ambitious art students in their early 20s, were William Holman Hunt (1827–1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), and John Everett Millais (1829–1896), and the rebellious aim of their secret society was to create a new British art.  Rather than paint mannered historical or dull genre scenes, they wanted to return to the sincerity, minute detail, and luminous palette of medieval and early Renaissance painting.  They began with an attempt to revive religious art but quickly resorted to literary subject matter.

The first P.R.B. works appeared at the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1849, when James Tissot (1836 – 1902) was 13 years old.  In six years, he moved to Paris, and became an Academically-trained painter, favoring medieval subjects.  He was greatly influenced by the work of the Belgian painter Hendrik Leys (1815  1869).  Leys’ painting, The Trental Mass of Berthal de Haze – replete with numerous characters enacting a medieval drama against a minutely-detailed architectural background  won a gold medal at the 1855 Paris International Exhibition.

Promenade dans la Neige

A Walk in the Snow, by James Tissot

In 1862, Tissot traveled to London, where the first exhibition of his work was not at the Royal Academy but the International Exhibition.  Tissot showed one of his début paintings from the 1859 Salon, giving his medieval picture the English title, A Walk in the Snow.

He also must have met Britain’s most popular painter, John Everett Millais, who had moved to London with his wife, Effie.  With their growing family to provide for, Millais found a steady source of income drawing illustrations, for periodicals such as Once a Week and The Cornhill Magazine as well as Tennyson’s Poems (1857) and Anthony Trollope’s novel Framley Parsonage (1860).

At the 1862 London International Exhibition, the retired first British Minister to Japan, Sir Rutherford Alcock (1809-1897) showed his collection at his Japanese Pavilion.  It was a sensation.  With the signing of the first commercial treaty between Japan and America in 1854, more than 200 years of Japanese seclusion came to an end.   In Paris, a host of import shops cropped up, and like Alcock, those with the means could collect exotic treasures – handcrafted pottery, lacquer, bamboo and ivory – that seemed even more exquisite compared to the Industrial Revolution’s mass-produced wares.

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Young Women Looking at Japanese Articles (1869), by James Tissot.  (Image Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library)

Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who lived in Chelsea near James McNeill Whistler, tried to shop for Japanese items in Paris in November, 1864.  But, as he wrote to his mother from Paris, he “found all the costumes were being snapped up by a French artist, Tissot, who it seems is doing three Japanese pictures, which the mistress of the shop described to me as the three wonders of the world, evidently in her opinion quite throwing Whistler into the shade.”

Rossetti’s comment indicates that James Tissot was unknown to him prior to this, and that, with resentment at losing out on these treasures to him, he imagined Tissot was an inferior artist.

However, Rossetti became an admirer of Tissot’s work within months, when a book was published that included illustrations by several artists, including Millais and Tissot.  On February 3, 1865, Rossetti wrote to his friend, Alexander Macmillan, “I have seen the frontispiece & vignette to Tom Taylor’s Breton Ballads [Ballads and Songs of Brittany] designed by Tissot, which are admirable things. Could you as their publisher let me have a proof of each separate from the work?”  Macmillan made Rossetti a gift of one of Tissot’s drawings, either The Crusader’s Wife  or the one for the frontispiece.

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Apple Blossoms (Spring, 1859), J.E. Millais. (Photo: Wikipedia)

spring

Spring (1865), by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tissot continued to be inspired by Millais.  At the Paris Salon of 1865, though one of Tissot’s medieval pictures was a disappointment to the critics, his second picture, Spring,  received some praise because of its similarities to Millais’ Apple Blossoms (Spring), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1859.

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Portrait of Effie Millais (1873), by J.E. Millais (Photo:  Wiki)

In early June, 1871, Tissot fled Paris, along with thousands of others, after the Bloody Week, when French government troops brutally suppressed the Commune uprising that followed the Franco-Prussian War.  He arrived in London with 100 francs in his pocket, but he had had enough time to pack a few drawings before he left Paris:  on June 19, 1871, he dedicated an exquisite graphite rendering of a reclining French soldier at his ease with a rifle to Effie Millais (1828 – 1897).  Tissot had fought bravely in the Battle of Malmaison, west of Paris, on October 21, 1870; this drawing is inscribed to Effie, “a la Malmaison/le 22 Oct 1870.”

With the help of a handful of friends, including Millais, Tissot proceeded to rebuild his career in London.

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A Huguenot, on St Bartholomew’s Day, refusing to shield himself from danger by wearing the Roman Catholic badge (1851-52), by J.E. Millais.  (Photo:  Wiki)

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Les Adieux (The Farewells, 1871), by James Tissot. (Photo courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Royal Academy exhibition in 1872, Tissot showed Les Adieux (The Farewells, 1871).  A sentimental costume piece calculated to appeal to the British public, it clearly was inspired by Millais’ A Huguenot (1851-52).  Neither the critics nor the public objected to the French artist’s emulation of a Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece; rather, Tissot’s painting was so popular that it was reproduced as a steel engraving by John Ballin and published by Pilgeram and Lefèvre in 1873.

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The Hammock (1879), by James Tissot.  (Image courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library)

Later in the decade, when Tissot ceased exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy and instead displayed it at the innovative, elegant new Grosvenor Gallery, his supreme talent was acknowledged, but his paintings were considered a perversion of Pre-Raphaelitism:

“Mr. James Tissot, one of the eccentrics of the Grosvenor school, has sent in eight pictures.  In six or seven of them the leading figure is a girl in a hammock or in a swing, or lying down.  She is always surrounded by green trees and green grass, so green that you have to hunt for the figures, and so clever that you want to have Mr. Tissot sent for that you may call him names for prostituting his talents to a silly affectation of realism.   Pre-Raphaelitism gone mad is the motive power of this wild man of the studio.  Whistler has not quite satisfied us whether he can paint or not; but under Tissot’s eccentricities lurks a laughing giant.”   The New York Times, May 12, 1879

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Pan and Psyche (1872-74), by Edward Burne-Jones.  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

In an 1896 letter to Helen (May) Gaskell, Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898), who had been a close follower of Rossetti, described Tissot’s paintings of “ladies in hammocks, showing legs & ladies smoking – and all manner of things not tending to edification.”  Burne-Jones had met and fell in love with May, an unhappily married Society hostess, in 1892.

Burne-Jones’ wife of thirty-eight years, Georgiana (1840 – 1920), wrote to Tissot after her husband’s death, asking if they had ever met or if there had ever been any correspondence between the two artists.  In January, 1899, she received a letter from him with a “beautiful answer” to her questions:

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Georgiana Burne-Jones, c. 1882.  (Photo:  Wikimedia)

“I am back from America and upon my return I find your letter which I hasten to answer. I did not know your husband very well.  I only remember that around 1875 I went to see him; he received me with great simplicity, and I judged the man according to what I saw in his studio – that is, great things on the easel rendered with a touching primitive simplicity.  I felt the heights where he hovered and the materiality where I struggled more and more; all this intimidated me so much that I was not going to see him anymore. He grew so much and I left England. Since then I have made this Life of Christ, I know he has been to see it.  I knew he liked it, and I would have a really good time seeing him on one of my trips to London when I learned of his death. He never wrote to me, otherwise I would put at your disposal what would remain of this great artist, one of the purest glories of your country. ”

Tissot, one of the most self-confident, ambitious and materially successful artists of his time, offered these effusive sentiments to a widow tasked with writing her husband’s biography.

350px-william_holman_hunt_-_the_finding_of_the_saviour_in_the_temple

The Finding of the Savior in the Temple (1854–60), by William Holman Hunt.  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

As for the third leading founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, William Holman-Hunt wrote in his memoir, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Vol. II:

The Franco-German war had brought many French artists to England, some of whom had returned to Paris, while others remained here.  One evening at a small bachelors’ gathering at Millais’ studio, a foreigner, being told that I had just returned from Jerusalem, asked if I were Holman-Hunt, the painter of “The Finding of Christ in the Temple[1854-55], which he had lately seen in Mr. Charles Mathews’ collection. He said that he had admired it and my principle of work so much that he had resolved some day to go to the East and paint on the same system.  I then learnt that this artist was young Tissot.

the-youth-of-jesus-illustration-for-the-life-of-christ

The Youth of Jesus (1886-94), by James Tissot.  (Photo:  Wikiart.org)

Either this is true, and “young Tissot,” finding himself rebuilding his reputation in London at age 35, taking career cues from the practical, businesslike Millais, dreamed of imitating Holman-Hunt’s artistic quest in the Holy Land – or, more likely, Holman-Hunt as an elderly man was burnishing his reputation by taking credit for inspiring Tissot’s highly lucrative Bible illustrations, researched in Palestine after a “spiritual awakening” in 1885 and published to worldwide acclaim in 1896 and 1897.  Tissot’s series of 365 gouache illustrations for the Life of Christ were shown to wildly enthusiastic crowds in Paris (1894 and 1895), London (1896) and New York (1898), after which they toured North America until 1900, bringing in $100,000 in entrance fees; the Brooklyn Museum then acquired them by public subscription for $60,000.  After Tissot’s death in 1902, his assistants completed his Old Testament project, which was published in 1904.  Holman-Hunt published his autobiography in 1905.

And so, from James Tissot’s earliest years as a painter until his death, the Pre-Raphaelites were intertwined with him and his success.

© 2018 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

Related Posts:

London Début: Tissot explores a new art market, 1862

Ready and waiting: Tissot’s entrée, 1865

The competition: Tissot’s friends Whistler, Degas, Manet, Courbet, Alma-Tadema & Millais in 1866

Welcome to the Royal Academy Exhibition: London, 1870 (Part I)

London, June 1871

CH377762The 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.

NOTE:  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.

A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Young Women Looking at Japanese Articles”

In 1866, thirty-year-old painter James Tissot bought land to build a villa on the most prestigious of Baron Haussmann’s grand new boulevards, the eleven-year-old avenue de l’Impératrice (now avenue Foch). By the Salon of 1868, Tissot had occupied his newly built mansion:  the intriguing details in La Cheminée (The Fireplace, c. 1869, private collection) and L’escalier (The Staircase, 1869, private collection) almost certainly were painted from its opulent interior.

Tissot’s studio, a showcase for his renowned collection of Japanese art, became a landmark to see when touring Paris – and, for Tissot, it was a brilliant marketing tool to attract commissions.  His collection of Japanese art and objets had grown to include a model of a Japanese ship, a Chinese shrine and hardwood table, and a Japanese black lacquered household altar, along with dozens of embroidered silk kimonos, Japanese dolls, folding screens and porcelains.  In 1869, he assimilated these exotic items into elegant compositions in three similar paintings featuring young women looking at Japanese objects.  

 

Young Women Looking at Japanese Objects

Jeunes femmes regardant des objects japonais (1869), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 24 by 19 in. (60.96 by 48.26 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

Young ladies admiring Japanese objects (1869), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 22 by 15 in. (55.88 by 38.10 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1834, copyright Lucy Paquette

 

By the 1930s, the version below was hanging in an interior decorator’s store on Third Street in Cincinnati and was purchased by Dr. Henry M. Goodyear; he and his wife gifted Tissot’s picture to the Cincinnati Art Museum in 1984.

IMG_8766, copyright Lucy Paquette

 

 

 

 

I recently made a trip to Cincinnati specifically to see this painting.  The Cincinnati Art Museum is beautiful, has an impressive collection, and is vibrant and extremely popular.  It is one of the oldest art museums in the United States.  Following the success of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, when public art museums were a new phenomenon, the Women’s Art Museum Association was organized in Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati Museum Association was incorporated by 1881.  Five years later, a permanent art museum building was completed – the first purpose-built art museum west of the Alleghenies, heralded worldwide as “The Art Palace of the West.”  It has greatly expanded since then.

Young Women Looking at Japanese Articles is just exquisite – painted in Tissot’s academic style in a rich palette, it has a glossy, enameled finish and features abundant exotic details.  The women’s faces are sweet and contemplative, and their costumes are lovely.  You’ll notice that the central figure’s ensemble is actually red, not brown, as indicated in most photographs of this work.

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

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

It is such an engaging work that I took well over a dozen close-ups for you to enjoy.

IMG_8757, copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8758, copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8778 (2), copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8749, copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8750, copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8752 (2), copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8781 (2), copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8779 (2), copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8753 (2), copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8783, copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8765 (2)

IMG_8745, copyright by Lucy PaquetteIMG_8772, copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8785 (2), copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8755 (2), copyright Lucy Paquette

IMG_8743, copyright Lucy Paquette

 

Related posts:

“The three wonders of the world”: Tissot’s japonisme,1864-67

“Chi-so”: Tissot teaches a brother of Japan’s last Shogun, 1868

James Tissot’s brilliant marketing tool, 1869

Tissot’s Study for “Young Women looking at Japanese Objects” (1869)

Tissot in the U.S.: The Midwest

Tissot’s Comeback in the 1930s

© 2018 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

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.

 

French Painter James Tissot’s British Clients: Rising Industrialists, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web

The Victorian Web, a vast resource on literature, history and culture in the age of Victoria, published this article in March, 2018:

By 1865, French painter James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836 – 1902) was earning 70,000 francs a year, and had found his entrée to aristocratic patronage with The Marquis and the Marchioness of Miramon and their children (1865, Musée d’Orsay) on the terrace of the Château de Paulhac in Auvergne.  The next year, the marquis commissioned Tissot to paint Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née Thérèse Feuillant (1866, Getty Museum, Los Angeles) in her sitting room at the château.

In 1867, while Tissot’s opulent new villa on the most fashionable of Baron Haussmann’s boulevards was under construction, he painted the president of Paris’ exclusive Jockey Club, Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1824 –1896), now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  He moved into his elegant house by 1868, the year he painted a hearty slice of the French aristocracy in a group portrait of an exclusive club, founded in 1852, The Circle of the Rue Royale (1868, Musée d’Orsay).  At the Salon in 1868, Tissot exhibited two oil paintings, one of which, Beating the Retreat in the Tuileries Gardens (private collection), was purchased by Napoleon III’s influential cousin, Princess Mathilde.

But after the Franco-Prussian War in 1870–71, and its bloody aftermath, the Paris Commune uprising in the spring of 1871, Tissot moved to London.  Within two years, he established himself in a large house in the London suburb of St. John’s Wood with a studio, a conservatory and a luxurious garden.  While British aristocrats did not purchase the French artist’s paintings, plenty of newly-wealthy industrialists sought his work as they enhanced their social status by building art collections.  Because provenance (the history of ownership) of Old Masters paintings was not always meticulously documented at this time, many new collectors – wary of fakes – concentrated on contemporary artists so they would know exactly what they were getting for their money.

William Agnew (1825 – 1910), the most influential art dealer in London, specialized in “high-class modern paintings” and represented Tissot for a time during the 1870s.  Tissot’s The Last Evening was purchased from Agnew’s by Charles Gassiot (1826 – 1902), a London wine merchant and art patron who lived in a mansion in Upper Tooting, Surrey.  Gassiot bought The Last Evening in February, 1873, before it was exhibited at the Royal Academy, for £1,000.  Gassiot also purchased Tissot’s Too Early, from Agnew’s in March, 1873 (before its exhibition at the Royal Academy that year), for £1,155.  Gassiot and his wife Georgiana, a childless couple, donated a number of his paintings, including The Last Evening and Too Early, to the Guildhall Art Gallery from 1895 to 1902.

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

Tissot sold La Visite au Navire (A Visit to the Yacht, private collection) to Agnew’s, London, in mid-June 1873.  Less than five months later, at the beginning of November, Agnew’s, Liverpool sold the painting to art collector David Jardine (c. 1826 – 1911) of Highlea, Beaconsfield Road, Woolton.  Jardine, a timber broker and ship owner, was the head of Farnworth & Jardine, world famous for their mahogany auctions; a man of considerable ability and courtesy, he was well liked for his “courtly bearing.”

Les Adieux (Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, U.K.) was reproduced as a steel engraving by John Ballin and published by Pilgeram and Lefèvre in 1873 – an indication of its popularity.  The picture was owned by wealthy international railway contractor Charles Waring (c. 1827 – 1887).

The Ball on Shipboard (c. 1874, Tate) was purchased from Tissot by William Agnew the year it was completed and sold to Hilton Philipson (1834 – 1904), a solicitor and colliery owner living at Tynemouth.  (Philipson also spent 620 guineas at Agnew’s for John Everett Millais’ 1874 painting, The Picture of Health, a portrait of Millais’ daughter, Alice (later Mrs. Charles Stuart Wortley).

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The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst (c. 1874), by James Tissot.

In 1874, two of James Tissot’s paintings were purchased by aristocrats, one Irish and the other French.  Mervyn Wingfield, 7th Viscount Powerscourt (1836 – 1904), whose forebears had lived since 1300 on a magnificent estate outside Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland, paid £1,000 for Avant le Départ (private collection).  By autumn, Tissot was commissioned to paint a double portrait of the exiled Empress of France, widow of Napoléon III, Eugénie de Montijo (1826 –1920), and their son, The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst (c. 1874, Musée Nationale du Château de Compiègne, France).  However, these sales were anomalies, and his clients continued to be industrialists.

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The Convalescent (1875/1876), by James Tissot.  Museums Sheffield, U.K.

Kaye Knowles, Esq. (1835-1886), was a London banker whose vast wealth came from shares in his family’s Lancashire coal mining business, Andrew Knowles and Sons.  Knowles, a client of London art dealer Algernon Moses Marsden [1848-1920, see Who was Algernon Moses Marsden?], owned a large art collection, including works by Sir Edwin Landseer, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Rosa Bonheur, Giuseppe De Nittis, Atkinson Grimshaw and Édouard Detaille.  He eventually owned four oil paintings by James Tissot, including The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst; On the Thames (1876, The Hepworth Wakefield, U.K.); and In the Conservatory (also known as Rivals, c1875-1876, Private Collection).  Incidentally, after Knowles’ sudden death, In the Conservatory (Rivals) was sold with his estate as Afternoon Tea by Christie’s, London, on May 14, 1887.  William Agnew bought the painting at this sale for 50 guineas and passed it to one of Kaye’s executors, his brother, Andrew Knowles, on May 16, 1887.  Andrew Knowles also owned The Convalescent (1875/1876, Museums Sheffield, U.K.), which was exhibited at the 1876 Royal Academy exhibition.

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Chrysanthemums (c. 1874-76), by James Tissot.  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute at Williamstown, Massachusetts

Chrysanthemums (c. 1874-76, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute at Williamstown, Massachusetts) was purchased by British cotton magnate, MP and contemporary art collector Edward Hermon (1822 – 1881) by 1877.  Hermon eventually owned over 70 paintings, including works by J.M.W. Turner, Sir Edwin Landseer, and John Everett Millais, which he displayed in the picture gallery of his magnificent French Gothic estate, Wyfold Court, built at Rotherfield Peppard, Oxfordshire between 1872 and 1878.

Portsmouth Dockyard (c. 1877, Tate) originally was owned by Henry Jump (1820 – 1893), a wealthy Justice of the Peace and corn merchant living at Gateacre, Lancashire.

File:James Tissot - Portrait of Mrs Catherine Smith Gill and Two of her Children - Google Art Project.jpg

Portrait of Mrs Catherine Smith Gill and Two of her Children (1877), by James Tissot.  Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, U.K.

Mr. Chapple Gill (c.1833 – 1901/2), was the son of Robert Gill, a Liverpool cotton broker of Knotty Cross and R. & C. Gill; the son joined the business in 1857 and had risen to senior partner [by 1880, he became head of the firm].  In 1877, he commissioned French painter Tissot, then living in London, to paint a portrait of his wife, Catherine Smith Carey (1847-1916), whom he had married on June 10, 1868 at Childwall.  She was the only child of Thomas Carey (1809 – c. 1875), a wealthy, retired estate agent.  Tissot’s portrait of Catherine Smith Gill (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) shows her – heiress at age 30 – sitting with her two children in the drawing-room window of her mother’s home at Lower Lee, at Woolton near Liverpool, which was built by Catherine’s father.

William Menelaus (1818 – 1882) was a Scottish-born engineer, iron and steel manufacturer, and inventor. Widowed after only ten weeks of marriage, he never remarried but raised two nephews (William Darling, who became a law lord, and Charles Darling, who became an MP and later a baron). Menelaus earned a fortune at the Dowlais Ironworks in South Wales, and his only extravagance was his art collection, which was said to fill his home in Merthyr. He donated pieces to the Cardiff Free Library, then upon his death, bequeathed to it the remaining thirty-six paintings, valued at £10,000. His bequest included James Tissot’s Bad News (The Parting), 1872, now at the National Museum Cardiff.

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Quiet (c. 1881), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.

Quiet (c. 1881) was purchased by Richard Donkin, M.P. (1836 – 1919), an English shipowner who was elected Member of Parliament for the newly created constituency of Tynemouth in the 1885 general election.  The small painting remained in the family and was a major discovery of a Tissot work when it appeared on the market in 1993, selling for $ 416,220/£ 280,000.  In perfect condition, it shows Tissot’s mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton (1854 – 1882), and her niece, Lilian Hervey in the garden of Tissot’s house at 17 Grove End Road, St. John’s Wood, in north London.  It was Lilian Hervey who, in 1946, publicly identified the model long known only as “La Mystérieuse” – the Mystery Woman – as her aunt, Kathleen Newton.

The story of James Tissot’s Victorian patrons is the story of social transition:  in the late nineteenth century, art collecting ceased to be the prerogative of the aristocracy and became a status symbol for the rising industrial classThe wealth of contemporary collectors of Tissot’s oil paintings gives an idea of the monetary value of his canvases as well as their perceived value as status symbols.

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On the Thames, A Heron (c. 1871-1872), by James Tissot.  Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

An interesting side note is that, for one prominent financial dynasty, the value of Tissot’s paintings as investments did not hold.  On the Thames, A Heron (c. 1871-1872, Minneapolis Institute of Arts) was one of Tissot’s first paintings after his arrival in London – and it was the first on record to be sold at auction in England.  Calculated to appeal to Victorian tastes, this Japanese-influenced scene initially was owned by London banker José de Murrieta (c. 1834 – 1901), a member of a Spanish family who had made their fortune within two generations by trading, especially with Argentina.  Murrieta tried to sell the painting in May, 1873 as On the Thames: the frightened heron for 570 guineas, but it did not find a buyer.  José, who was married, lived at Wadhurst Park in East Sussex, designed by E.J. Tarver in 1872-75.  It was purchased by his bachelor brothers Cristobal (1839 – 1891) and Adriano (1843 – 1891); they resided in the mansion they built about 1854 at 11, Kensington Palace Gardens (which was decorated by Alfred Stevens, with Walter Crane painting a frieze in the ballroom they added in 1873).  José and his intelligent and witty wife, Jesusa (c.1834 – 1898), were members of the Prince of Wales’ set and entertained lavishly at the houses in London and Sussex, both showcases for the vast collection of modern British and Continental painting they  had amassed.  The Prince scandalized the Foreign Office before and after his trip to India by traveling to Menton on the Mediterranean for Easter with Mrs. Murrieta in March 1875, and spending three days sightseeing with her in April, 1876, while he stayed at lodgings taken for him under an assumed name.  José soon received royal favor himself, being created the first Marques de Santurce in October 1877 by 20-year-old King Alfonso XII of Spain.  Meanwhile, Lillie Langtry, a young married beauty from Jersey, consumed the Prince’s interest from mid-1877, and it was rumored that the Murrietas created a love nest for the Prince and her at Wadhurst.  The Prince’s attentions wandered by mid-1880, but by 1881, another wing had been added to Wadhurst to entertain him.  Within two years, the art collection was expendable.  In April 1883, among other paintings including a Turner and several Alma-Tademas, José offered At the Rifle Range (1869, Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire) for sale at Christie’s, London as The Crack Shot; at £220.10s, it failed to find a buyer. In June 1883, José attempted and failed to sell On the Thames for 273 guineas. The Murrietas, who invested heavily in Argentinian railways, were bankrupted in 1890, when Argentina defaulted on bond payments.

in-the-conservatory

Afternoon Tea, by James Tissot.  Private Collection.

Had José de Murrieta known that London wine merchant Charles Gassiot purchased The Last Evening in February, 1873 for £1,000 and Too Early in March, 1873 for £1,155, perhaps he might have been able to sell him On the Thames: the frightened heron for 570 guineas in May, 1873.  The Spanish banker might have been prudent to have tried slipping his “high-class modern paintings” past William Agnew’s discerning taste; then again, Agnew snapped up Afternoon Tea at Christie’s in 1887 for a mere 50 guineas.  In 2013, this picture was deaccessioned [regrettably] by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York – selling at Christie’s, New York to a private collector for $1,700,000 (Hammer price).]

 

©  2018 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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

Selected Bibliography

Brooke, David S. “James Tissot and the ‘Ravissante Irlandaise.'” Connoisseur. May 1968.

Graves, Algernon, F.S.A. Art Sales from Early in the Eighteenth Century to Early in the Twentieth Century. London: Algernon Graves, 1918.

Misfeldt, Willard E. James Jacques Joseph Tissot: A Bio-Critical Study. Ph.D. diss. Ann Arbor: Washington University, 1971.

Paquette, Lucy. “Who was Algernon Moses Marsden?” The Hammock. Web. 26 March 2018.

Ridley, Jane. The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, The Playboy Prince. New York: Random House, 2013.

Wadhurst History Society Newsletter. Web. 26 March 2018.

 

See my other articles on The Victorian Web:

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

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

 

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