Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Art of Waiting, by James Tissot

All 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. 

Many of James Tissot’s most memorable oil paintings feature images of women waiting.  Sometimes they are with men, but the focal point is the woman’s impassive face and languorous mien.  They are not waiting for anything, particularly.  Yet rather than being pleasant and relaxing, these scenes are oppressively still and sometimes claustrophobic.

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

In A Visit to the Yacht (1873), the two couples and the girl do not interact.  They are bored and tense, just waiting in the same small space.  Tissot sold this picture directly to Agnew’s, London for £650, as La Visite au Navire.  Shortly after, Agnew’s, Liverpool sold the picture to David Jardine (1827-1911), a Liverpool timber broker, ship owner and art collector.  Jardine was born in New Brunswick, to a family that had grown wealthy from the Canadian timber industry.  After moving to Liverpool, Jardine eventually became Chairman of the Cunard Steamship Company.

In 1922, the painting was purchased at Christie’s, London by Vicars Brothers, art dealers in London.

William Hulme Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme (1888 – 1949), who co-founded Unilever in 1930, purchased Tissot’s A Visit to the Yacht from the Leicester Galleries in 1933.  Upon his death, Philip William Bryce Lever, 3rd Viscount Leverhulme (1915 – 2000), succeeded to the title; he became Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire a few months later and was appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1988.  Prior to his death in 2000, he lived and entertained at Thornton Manor in Cheshire, where his guests included Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Prince Philip, Princess Margaret, and Lord Snowdon, as well as members of other royal families, heads of state, and notable people from the worlds of industry, academia and the arts.  The last male descendant of the 1st Viscount Leverhulme, his titles became extinct.

Tissot’s A Visit to the Yacht was owned by the Estate of the 3rd Viscount Leverhulme, which sold The Leverhulme Collection from Thornton Manor at Sotheby’s in June, 2001.  However, several paintings including A Visit to the Yacht were exhibited at the Lady Lever Art Gallery by the 3rd Viscount’s Executors.

The Trustees of the 3rd Viscount Leverhulme Will Trust offered Tissot’s A Visit to the Yacht  for sale at Sotheby’s, London on December 4, 2013, but it did not find a buyer.  However, it was announced later that the painting was sold privately to a buyer in the United States for a price within the estimated £2 to 3 million GBP it was expected to bring at the auction.

Tissot painted three versions of Waiting for the Ferry, one in 1874 and two around 1878, at the dock beside the Falcon Tavern, Gravesend.  The women in these pictures don’t look preoccupied with their thoughts, or bored, as if they had something better to do:  they’re simply waiting.

Waiting for the ferry outside the Falcon Inn (1874), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 26 by 37 in. (66.04 by 93.98 cm). The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

In Tissot’s Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern (1874), man is busy reading, the little girl is obviously bored, but the woman is calmly waiting.  This picture was exhibited at Nottingham Castle, and at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1887.  It then was in the collection of James Hall, Esq., a prominent collector of Pre-Raphaelite art and the grandfather of Mrs. Edward Reeves, who sold the painting at Christie’s, London in 1954 to the John Nicholson Gallery, New York for $ 4,339 (£ 1550).  In 1963, prominent collector Mrs. Blakemore Wheeler, who had owned the painting by 1957, gifted it to the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

Waiting for the Ferry (c. 1878), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 10 by 14 in. (26.7 by 35.6 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

In about 1876, Tissot’s young mistress and muse, Kathleen Irene Ashburnham Kelly Newton (1854 – 1882), moved into his home at 17 (now 44), Grove End Road, St. John’s Wood, London.  Tissot often painted her in his house or garden.  Since they did not marry, they could not socialize in Victorian Society, but they made excursions outside London to places including Greenwich.  The man in this picture, who may have been modeled by Kathleen’s brother, Frederick Kelly, is obviously bored, but the woman just waits.

This version of Waiting for the Ferry was with Leicester Galleries, London, by 1936, and again until about 1953.  It was purchased by by English actor Alec Guinness (1914 – 2000) around 1955, before he was knighted, and it was sold at Christie’s in 1977 as Waiting for the Boat at Greenwich.  It was purchased by the Owen Edgar Gallery, then by Roy Miles Fine Paintings and by 1984-85 belonged to Samuel A. McLean.

Waiting for the Ferry (c. 1878), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 9 by 13¾ in. (22.5 by 32.5 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

This version of Waiting for the Ferry does show the woman, modeled by Kathleen Newton, looking as bored as the two children, while the man, who was modeled by the artist himself, appears to be talking or whispering to her.  This picture was owned by Mrs. Viva King by 1968.  In 1920s London, Viva King was a beautiful and vivacious free spirit called the “Queen of Bohemia” by English writer Osbert Sitwell.  Her husband, Willie King, was a curator at the British Museum, and in the 1940s, Viva was the hostess of a successful salon at Thurloe Square.   Her Waiting for the Ferry later belonged to Charles de Pauw.   It was sold at Christie’s, London in 1978 for $ 39,754/£ 22,000; Sotheby’s, London in 1986 for $ 73,568/£ 49,000; and Christie’s, London in 1993 for $ 148,650/£ 100,000.

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

Incidentally, while this version of Waiting for the Ferry is supposed to have been painted around 1878, Kathleen Newton’s son, Cecil, was born in March, 1876, and he clearly is older than two or two and a half here.  In fact, it must have been painted in 1882, when Tissot painted Cecil at about six in The Garden Bench, wearing the same knit cap and brown suit.  That would make the young girl in this Waiting for the Ferry Lilian Hervey, Kathleen Newton’s niece, who was seven in 1882 [Kathleen’s daughter, Muriel Violet Newton, was born in December, 1871 and would have been about ten at this time, too old to be the girl shown in this version of Waiting for the Ferry].

Tissot, Kathleen Newton, Cecil Newton, and Lilian Hervey posed for a photograph that gives some insight into how the artist composed this version of Waiting for the Ferry.

Kathleen Newton (center) and James Tissot (right) with her son, Cecil Newton. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Kathleen Newton (center) and James Tissot (right) with her son, Cecil Newton. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The Terrace of the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London, by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 11 by 14 in. (27.94 by 35.56 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

On the Terrace of Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London (c. 1878) depicts people in a situation that suggests social interaction, but they appear to merely wait for something, with only the smoker evincing boredom.  This painting is inscribed “No. 1 Trafalgar Tavern/(Greenwich)/oil painting/James Tissot/17 Grove End Road/St John’s Wood/London/N.W.” on an old label on the reverse.  It belonged to Sir Thomas Wilson, Bt., before it was sold at Sotheby’s, Belgravia in 1970 for $ 9,839/£ 4,100.  As “The Property of a Lady of Title,” it was sold at Christie’s, London in 1993 for $ 193,245/£ 130,000.

No other painter painted the act of waiting like Tissot, or as often as Tissot did.

Related posts:

For sale: A Visit to the Yacht, c. 1873, by James Tissot

James Tissot Domesticated

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

© 2015 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.

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Tissot and Degas visit the Louvre, 1879

          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.

 

Both James Tissot and Edgar Degas produced paintings based on visits to the Louvre in 1879.  They had met in 1859, and they remained friends for at least thirty-six years.

Visit to a Museum (La visite au musée, c. 1880), by Edgar Degas. Oil on canvas, 91.7 by 67.9 cm. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Degas produced a series of drawings, pastels, paintings and prints portraying the American painter Mary Cassatt at the Louvre.  Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cassatt studied art in America and Europe before moving to Paris, where she began exhibiting at the Salon.  The two artists met in 1877, when she was 33 and Degas was 43.  Degas invited Cassatt to join the third exhibition of independent painters who were adopting the name “Impressionists”; she waited until their next exhibition, in 1879.

They were not known to be romantically involved, but they were particularly close around 1879-80.  They socialized together, worked together, and collected each other’s art.  Despite a rift in 1895, their friendship lasted until Degas’ death in 1917.  They destroyed each other’s letters.  In later life, Degas told a mutual friend, “I could have married her, but I could never have made love to her.”  When she was an old lady, a relative dared to ask her if she had had an affair with Degas, and she replied, “What, with that common little man; what a repulsive idea!”  But when he died, she told a friend that Degas was “the last great artist of the nineteenth century.  I see no one to replace him.”

Woman Viewed from Behind (Visit to a Museum, c. 1879-1885), by Edgar Degas. Oil on canvas, 32 by 29 3/4 in. (81.3 by 75.6 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Mary Cassatt at the Louvre – The Etruscan Gallery (c. 1879-80), by Edgar Degas. Softground etching, drypoint, aquatint, and etching, 26.8 by 23.2 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Mary Cassatt at the Louvre: The Paintings Gallery (1879-80), by Edgar Degas. Etching, softground etching, aquatint and drypoint on blacons wove paper, 11.9 by 5 in./30.3 by 12.7 cm. Brooklyn Museum, New York. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Study for Mary Cassatt at the Louvre (c. 1879), by Edgar Degas. Pastel on paper, 25 by 19 1/4 in. (63.5 by 48.9 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Mary Cassatt at the Louvre (Miss Cassatt au musée du Louvre, c. 1879), by Edgar Degas. Pastel on paper, 28 by 21 in. (71.12 by 53.34 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Degas’ Mary Cassatt at the Louvre (Miss Cassatt au musée du Louvre, c. 1879) was sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 2002 for $ 15,000,000/£ 10,319,207.

The highest price paid to date for a work by James Tissot was $ 4,800,000/£ 3,035,093 for Le banc de jardin/The Garden Bench (c. 1882, oil on canvas, 99.1 by 142.2 cm); award-winning musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (b. 1948) purchased it from American millionaire Frederick Koch (b. 1933) at Sotheby’s, New York in 1994.

But in 1879, at 43, James Tissot was much more famous and successful than his friend Edgar Degas.  Tissot had left Paris for London after the Franco-Prussian War and its bloody aftermath, the Commune, in 1871.  Degas urged him to exhibit with the independents in 1874, but to no avail.  Tissot’s visit to the Louvre with Kathleen Newton, his 25-year-old divorced mistress and muse, resulted in numerous studies and completed paintings on paper, cardboard, wood, and canvas.

At the Louvre (c. 1879-80), by James Tissot. Pencil and watercolor, 16 by 9 in. (40.64 by 22.86 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

At the Louvre (c. 1879-80), shows a figure modeled by Kathleen Newton glancing at an implied visitor – perhaps another man – while the men around her are absorbed in their guide books.  This watercolor was exhibited at the Société d’Aquarellistes Français in 1883, and Tissot kept it his entire life.

After the death of his niece, it was sold from his chateau in Besançon, France in 1961-62.  It was in a private collection in France before being purchased by the Martyn Gregory Gallery in London.  By 1984, it belonged to Andrew Brown, and it later was purchased by the Richard Green Gallery, London.  In 2003, it was sold at Sotheby’s, London to a private collector for $ 51,420/£ 30,000.

At the Louvre (c. 1880), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 29 by 20 in. (73.66 by 50.80 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Another version of At the Louvre, showing a young woman (modeled by Kathleen Newton) and two gentlemen bending to observe a wide basin, was sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 1979 for $ 23,000/£ 11,141.

Foreign Visitors at the Louvre (c. 1880), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 14 1/4 by 10 3/8 in./36.3 by 26.4 cm. Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Foreign Visitors at the Louvre (c. 1880, oil on canvas, 29 by 19.5 in.) was donated to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California by the estate of Barbara Darlington Dupee in 2013.  It shows a glowing Kathleen Newton looking at an implied visitor – again, perhaps another man?

Tissot made a small grisaille oil study, c. 1880, of the figure of Mrs. Newton for this painting.  Known as A Study for Visiteurs étrangers au Louvre (oil on panel, 12 by 9.45 in./30.5 by 24 cm), it was with the Wildenstein Galleries before being purchased from Christie’s, New York in 1977 for a private collection in Melbourne, Australia.

A final, complete study for Foreign Visitors at the Louvre (Visiteurs étrangers au Louvre, c. 1880, oil on panel, 14 1/4 by 10 3/8 in./36.3 by 26.4 cm) was sold at Sotheby’s, London in 1973 for $ 19,101/£ 7,500.  It belonged to H. Stewart Black, England before being purchased by the Richard Green Gallery, London, and then the Herman Shickman Gallery, New York, where it was sold to a private collector about 1975 and remained in the family.  In 2004, it was sold at Sotheby’s, New York for $ 270,000/£ 152,749.

View of the Landing of the North Staircase of the Colonnade at the Louvre (c. 1880), by James Tissot. Oil on cardboard, 62 by 38 cm.

Tissot made several studies from this visit to the Louvre, showing interiors with no figures.

View of the Landing of the North Staircase of the Colonnade at the Louvre (c. 1880) belonged to Jean-Jacques Marquet Vasselot (1871 – 1946), a French archaeologist and art historian who began his career at the Louvre in 1902 and became director of the Musée de Cluny in 1933, the year he donated this Tissot oil to the French nation.

This is a study for The North Staircase of the Louvre (Escalier nord du Louvre, oil on canvas, 35 by 19 in./88.90 by 48.26 cm), a painting featuring a figure modeled by Kathleen Newton.  The painting was sold at Christie’s, New York in 1997 for $ 350,000/£ 214,185.

View of the Hall of Septimus Severus from the Hall of Peace at the Louvre (c. 1879), by James Tissot. Oil on cardboard, 58.2 by 38.5 cm.

View of the Hall of Septimus Severus from the Hall of Peace at the Louvre (c. 1879) was acquired by France for its national collection in 1990.

It was a background study for another version of Foreign Visitors in the Louvre (Visiteurs étrangers au Louvre, oil on panel, 17 1/2 by 8 3/8 in./44.4 by 21.3 cm), which shows a figure in the foreground modeled by Kathleen Newton  She wears a gown with a plaid skirt, and she carries a black fur muff.  This painting, sold at the Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris, in 1907, was sold at Christie’s, London in 2006.

Another of Tissot’s interior studies of the Louvre, A Room of Sculptures (Une salle des sculptures de Louvre), is an oil on canvas measuring 15 by 10 in. (38.10 by 25.40 cm).  It sold at Tajan, Paris in 2000 for 89,000 FRF ($ 12,753/€ 13,567/£ 8,437).

In the Louvre (L’Esthétique, 1883-1885), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 58 by 39 3/8 in. (144.4 by 100.0 cm). Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Luis A. Ferré (1904 – 2003), a Puerto Rican industrialist, politician, patron of the arts and philanthropist, had traveled to Europe in 1956 and acquired art including many Pre-Raphaelite works.  Ferré would state in an interview published in Forbes magazine in 1993 that ”everyone thought I was crazy” to buy Pre-Raphaelite art in the 1950s.  On January 3, 1959, with seventy-two works of art, Ferré opened an art museum in a small wooden house in his birthplace of Ponce which became the extraordinary Museo de Arte de Ponce (Ponce Museum of Art), now a premier institution of Italian Baroque, Spanish, Flemish, French Academic, and British 19th-century art.  The museum’s renowned collection of Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian art includes James Tissot’s In the Louvre (L’Esthétique, 1883-1885), which was purchased at Sotheby’s, London in April, 1959 for $ 2,099/£ 750 and entered the Ponce’s collection in 1962.

The woman shown in this painting does not resemble Kathleen Newton, who died of tuberculosis in 1882, though the figure may have been modeled on her during the visit she made to the Louvre with Tissot in 1879.

A smaller version of L’Esthétique (oil on canvas, 25.5 by 17.5/64.8 by 44. 4 cm) is in a private collection.

In the Louvre (1883-85, oil on canvas, 18.5 by 12.13/47 by 32 cm), a study of the interior for this picture, was gifted to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum in Providence in 1962.

James Tissot and Edgar Degas remained friends until 1895 or 1897, when Tissot apparently angered Degas by selling one of his paintings, given as a gift.

But Degas offended Mary Cassatt in 1895 when he asked three thousand dollars for a picture Cassatt had sold for him to mutual friends for one thousand dollars in 1893; the friends paid the increased price, but Degas lost Cassatt’s friendship for a long time.

For more on Degas’ rifts with Tissot, Cassatt, and others at this time, see James Tissot the Collector:  His works by Degas, Manet & Pissarro.

Related posts:

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

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

Tissot vs. Whistler, Degas, Manet & Morisot oils at auction

James Tissot in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection

© 2015 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.