Monthly Archives: May 2018

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

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Young Women Looking at Japanese Articles”. The Hammock. <Date viewed.>


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:

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:












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.

James Tissot, 1869, CincyMuseum, img_1834-copyright-lucy-paquetteI 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.


img_8766-copyright-lucy-paquette, Cincinnati TissotYoung 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 by 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