Author Archives: Lucy Paquette, author of The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot

About Lucy Paquette, author of The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot

A writer with a bachelor’s degree in Art History and English Literature from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, Lucy Paquette studied with the British and European Studies Group, London. After beginning her career in marketing and copywriting in Washington, D.C., she became a freelance writer for publications including Signature, a publication of the Women’s National Book Association, and Maquette, the journal of the International Sculpture Center. Using dozens of contemporary sources, the author has rebuilt Tissot's life through his friendships, residences and letters, reviews and other published documents to shed light on a fascinating but little-known figure embroiled in the birth of Impressionism and modern art.

On Holiday with James Tissot and Kathleen Newton in 1878, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “On Holiday with James Tissot and Kathleen Newton, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web.” Victorian Web. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/on-holiday-with-james-tissot-and-kathleen-newton-in-1878-by-lucy-paquette-for-the-victorian-web/. Web. Date viewed.

 

James Tissot and Kathleen Newton lived in relative seclusion during their years together in London, from about 1876 until her death from tuberculosis in late 1882, but they enjoyed numerous trips outside the city in 1878.

Partly, as an unmarried couple living together, they were not welcome in respectable company. Kathleen’s two children lived nearby with her sister, Polly, who brought them to visit at tea time. But Tissot spent a great deal of time painting at his home, and Kathleen was his primary model during these years. Still, they managed what essentially were working holidays, when he painted her while they enjoyed excursions to resort towns easily accessible from his villa in suburban St. John’s Wood, London.

Each of their destinations had its own attractions, described in contemporary travel guides.

Greenwich

In Greenwich, Tissot painted The Terrace of the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London.

James Tissot, the-terrace-of-the-trafalgar-tavern-greenwich-london

The Terrace of the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London (c. 1878), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 11 by 14 in. (27.94 by 35.56 cm). New Orleans Museum of Art.  (Photo: Wikiart.org)

On the south bank of the Thames, Greenwich was four miles from London by road and railway, and five or six miles by river from London Bridge; steamers ran every half hour. The parish of Greenwich had a population of 40,412 in 1871, and the town was an important manufacturing center, with engineering establishments, steel and iron works, iron steamboat yards, artificial stone and cement works, rope yards, a flax mill, and a brewery. The meandering streets,  less than picturesque at that time, held a market, a theatre, a literary institute, a lecture hall, public baths, banks, and twenty almshouses.

The glory of the town was Greenwich Hospital, a home for retired Royal Navy sailors until 1869, which commanded the view from the Thames. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, its Painted Hall contained a picture gallery that was free to the public on Monday and Friday, and four pence on other days.

Greenwich, Old_Royal_Naval_College_2017-08-06

Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_London_from_Greenwich_Park_-_Google_Art_Project

London from Greenwich Park, by J.M.W. Turner (1809), Tate. (Wikipedia)

James Tissot, Trafalgar Tavern etching

Trafalgar Tavern (1878), by James Tissot. Etching  & drypoint. Metropolitan Museum of Art; public domain.

Behind the Hospital, visitors could enjoy the beautiful 190 acres of Greenwich Park, and the view of the Royal Observatory above it. The park, designed on plans by King Louis XIV’s landscape architect, André Le Nôtre by commission of Charles II, had been magnificently terraced and planted with avenues of elms in 1664. It was now in a state of neglect but still had charming, distant views of London and the Thames for the crowds who came to enjoy the open air and the deer fearless enough to feed from visitors’ hands. On its summit was the Royal Observatory, founded by George III, and while this was not open to the public, there was an electric time-ball that fell every day at precisely 1 p.m., an electric clock, a standard barometer, and highly accurate standard measures of length for public use by the entrance gates.

The Trafalgar Tavern was one of four riverside inns operating at that time; all were known for their whitebait dinners – for diners with the means to enjoy the delicacy, seasoned with cayenne pepper and lemon juice. The Terrace of Trafalgar Tavern 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. The terrace provided extensive views of the ships on the Thames, all the way to London.

Gravesend

In 1878, the couple traveled a bit farther, to Gravesend, the setting for two versions of Waiting for the Ferry (1878).

Gravesend was accessible by numerous river steamers which conveyed crowds of passengers during the day, as well as by trains on the Tilbury Railway and the North Kent Railway; a steam-ferry transported visitors from Tilbury over to Gravesend. The trip was about 27 miles by river, or 24 miles by rail. By 1878, Gravesend had a population of 22,000, and the influx of summer visitors brought unexpected prosperity.

At that time, Gravesend fishermen hauled in shrimp in prodigious quantities, mainly for the London market, but the streets of Gravesend teemed with “tea and shrimp houses.” The formerly crowded, labyrinthine medieval old town boasted new and wider streets, and a new town with broad streets was lined with shops, homes, and lodging-houses.

While the churches and public buildings of Gravesend were of little interest to tourists, with the exception of the impressive Town Hall and the massive, “Collegiate Gothic” College for Daughters of Congregational Ministers, Milton Mount (built in 1872-73), there was a theatre, and the Assembly Rooms in Harmer Street, built in 1842 as a Literary Institute, featured a concert-room for one thousand persons, as well as billiard-rooms.

Gravesend_Town_Hall-geograph.org-3552497

Gravesend Town Hall (Wikimedia)

The Town Hall, near the center of High Street, was built in 1836 on the site of previous town halls, and was fronted by colossal Doric columns over which a pediment featured the town arms and statues of Minerva, Justice, and Truth. Beneath the Great Hall on the main floor was the market: A corn market was held in the town on Wednesdays, a general market on Saturdays, and a cattle market monthly.

Along the river, there were barge and boat building yards, iron foundries, rope walks, breweries, steam flour mills, soap and other factories. Beyond those were market gardens, renowned for asparagus and rhubarb, and cherry and apple orchards.

GravesendThames3370, Town Pier

Gravesend Town Pier (Wikipedia)

For visitors, the place to be was the Town Pier, with its 40-foot cast-iron arches extending 127 feet into the river. It was the landing for the London steamers and the location of the railway ticket office. Built in 1832, the Pier was covered in 1854 and featured sliding shutters on the sides, making it possible in any weather to stroll along the river. On summer days, a band played, and there were occasional balls. The favorite hotels, such as the Clarendon and the Roebuck, were located near the Pier. Bathing machines were within walking distance, and since Gravesend was the headquarters of the Royal Thames Yacht Club, watermen kept busy conveying passengers to and from the vessels anchored off the Club House on the Main Parade.

All in all, Gravesend offered plenty of entertainment to fill James Tissot’s and Kathleen Newton’s leisure hours.

Tissot painted three versions of Waiting for the Ferry, one in 1874 (Speed Museum, Kentucky), and two around 1878, at the dock beside the Old Falcon Tavern, Gravesend; Kathleen Newton modeled for the figures in only the latter two versions. She wears the same triple-caped greatcoat that Tissot portrayed her wearing in numerous other paintings, including The Terrace of the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London.

James Tissot, waiting-for-the-ferry-1

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)

James_Tissot_-_Waiting_for_the_Ferry

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)

James Tissot_and_Newton, photo for Waiting for the Ferry

Photograph of James Tissot and Kathleen Newton (Wiki)

While this third version of Waiting for the Ferry [above] is said 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].

Tissot, Kathleen Newton, Cecil Newton, and Lilian Hervey posed for a photograph that gives some insight into how the artist composed this later version of Waiting for the Ferry, simply painting in the background from the previous version.

Ramsgate

The farthest the couple ventured on these excursions was Ramsgate, a seaside resort on the Kent coast, seventy-eight miles southeast of central London. There, Tissot painted Seaside (July: Specimen of a Portrait, 1878) and Room Overlooking the Harbour (c. 1878-79).

Ramsgate etching, Met

Ramsgate (1876), by James Tissot. Drypoint. Metropolitan Museum of Art; public domain.

Londoners could take the train from Victoria Station to Ramsgate on the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway. A travel guide of the time highly recommended this resort, population 12,000: “It is impossible to speak too favourably of this first-rate town, its glorious sands, its bathing, its hotels, libraries, churches, etc. etc. not forgetting its bracing climate.”

“The streets of Ramsgate are well paved or macadamized, and brilliantly lighted with gas.  There are banking establishments and a savings bank, with a literary institute, assembly-rooms, a small theatre, several good libraries, dispensary, town-hall, custom-house, music-hall, gas-works, water-works &c. An excellent promenade on the West Cliff has been laid out in an ornamental manner, and forms a delightful source of healthy recreation. The bathing-machines are under the East Cliff, where also, as well as in front of the harbor, there are well-appointed warm baths, &c. The markets are extremely well supplied with meat, excellent fish, &c.; and few places on the coast are so cheap, as well as healthy and agreeable for a summer’s residence.”

Vincent Van Gogh moved to Ramsgate in April, 1876, at age 23, to work as an assistant teacher in a boys’ school for a brief time. He wrote to his brother Theo, “There’s a harbour full of all kinds of ships, closed in by stone jetties running into the sea on which one can walk. And further out one sees the sea in its natural state, and that’s beautiful.”

Ramsgate_Sands

Ramsgate Sands in 1854, by William Powell Frith. (Wikipedia)

Ramsgate,_Kent,_England,_ca._1899, The Sands

Ramsgate Beach, Kent, England, c. 1890/1900 (Wikipedia)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe setting for Seaside was the Royal Albion Hotel near the shore of Viking Bay in Ramsgate, Built in 1791, Albion House sits atop the East cliff, with a sweeping view of the beach and the Royal Harbour. Princess Victoria stayed in one of its elegant rooms, ornamented with Georgian and Regency cornices, iron balconies, and shutter-panelled windows, before she was crowned Queen

Kathleen wears one of the prop gowns Tissot often used, a summery white gown trimmed with lemon-yellow satin ribbons that featured in a half-dozen of his oils in the mid-1870s, including A Portrait (1876, Tate Britain), A Convalescent (c. 1876, Museums Sheffield), A Passing Storm (c. 1876, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, New Brunswick), and Spring (c. 1878, private collection).

James Tissot, Seaside, or July, 1878 Cleveland OPEN ACCESS

Seaside (JulySpeciman of a Portrait, 1878), by James Tissot. Oil on fabric, 87.5 x 61 cm. Cleveland Museum of Art. Open Access.

Tissot exhibited Seaside, along with nine other paintings, at London’s Grosvenor Gallery – a sumptuous, invitation-only showcase for contemporary art in New Bond Street – in 1878, the year it was painted.

He made a copy (now in a private collection), showing Kathleen Newton wearing a tight blonde bun. He gave this version to Emile Simon, administrator of the Théâtre l’Ambigu-Comique at 2, Boulevard Saint Martin, Paris from 1882 to 1884. Simon sold it as La Réverie in 1905; this version of Seaside (also known as July, La Réverie, and Ramsgate Harbour) is signed and inscribed: “J.J. Tissot a l’am(i) E. Simon en bon Souvenir” (on the horizontal bar of the window frame). At some point, another artist painted a frizzy red hairstyle (probably considered more up-to-date) on Kathleen Newton.

James Tissot, Room Overlooking the Harbour

Room Overlooking the Harbour (c. 1878-79), by James Tissot. Oil on panel 25 by 33 cm, 10 by 13 in. Private collection. (Wikiart.org)

In Room Overlooking the Harbour (c. 1878-79), Tissot depicts Kathleen Newton going about her business while an older man (who could be a servant accompanying the couple) gamely models as well.

The picture has been held by the same family since 1933. In excellent condition, though needing to be cleaned and revarnished, it was sold at Sotheby’s, London on July 11 2019, for £ 400,000 (Hammer price).

Richmond

James_Tissot_-_By_the_Thames_at_Richmond, wiki

By the Thames at Richmond (1878-79), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 29.2 x 19.7 cm. Private collection. (Wikimedia)

In 1878-79, the couple traveled west to Richmond, a village on the south bank of the Thames, where Tissot painted By the Thames at Richmond (oil on canvas) and Richmond Bridge (oil on panel, 35.6 x 22.9 cm).

Baker_Street_tube_station,_1862 INCLUDE COPYRIGHT LINE from Wiki

Exterior view of Baker Street Metropolitan Railway station, 27 December, 1862, The Illustrated London News. [Wikipedia; this work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.]

Richmond, about nine miles by land from central London, was easily accessible by omnibuses running frequently from the City and West End. The trip was 16 miles by river, but because the Thames was too shallow there for steamers, the trip was usually made by railway – from the Waterloo, Vauxhall, and other stations. The District Railway connected Richmond to the London Underground in 1877, making the trip from Tissot’s villa near the Swiss Cottage Underground station (opened in 1868) possible.

Richmond_Bridge_from_west

Richmond Bridge from the west (Wikipedia)

Richmond_Bridge_lampRichmond Bridge, built of Portland stone between 1774 and 1777, began as a toll bridge, but tolls ended in 1859. Its five segmental arches, rise gradually to the tall, 60-foot wide central span which allowed vessels to pass through the tallest arch.

In Richmond Bridge, Kathleen Newton wears the green tartan gown from Room Overlooking the Harbour and The Warrior’s Daughter (The Convalescent, c. 1878, Manchester Art Gallery, U.K.).

In By the Thames at Richmond, she wears the striking, simple brown floral dress also worn in three oil versions (and one watercolor version) of La sœur aînée (The Elder Sister, c. 1881) and in The Garden Bench (c. 1882, private collection). The little girl is in the exact same pose and outfit as in the photograph above, painted in the third version of Waiting for the Ferry. The man uses his cane to trace “I love you” in the ground beneath the woman’s gaze.

Kathleen Newton, who died of tuberculosis in 1882, was depicted in a chaise-longue looking ill by Tissot in The Dreamer (Summer Evening, Musée d’Orsay ), c. 1876. While the secluded couple’s trips outside the city in 1878-79 must have been liberating escapes made possible by new forms of transportation, they also may have been just what the doctor ordered.

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

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

Bibliography

Baedeker, Karl. London and its environs, including excursions to Brighton, the Isle of Wight, etc.: handbook for travelers. Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1878.

Collins’ Illustrated Guide to London and Neighbourhood. London: William Collins, Sons, and Company, 1875.

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

Measom, George S. Official illustrated guide to the South-Eastern railway, and its branches. London: Reed and Pardon, c. 1860.

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

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

Paquette, Lucy. “Artistic intimates:  Tissot’s patrons among his friends & colleagues.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/artistic-intimates-tissots-patrons-among-his-friends-colleagues/. Web. 8 July 2019.

Paquette, Lucy. “The Artist’s Closet: James Tissot’s Prop Costumes.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/the-artists-closet-james-tissots-prop-costumes/. Web. 8 July 2019.

Paquette, Lucy. “The Art of Waiting, by James Tissot.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/the-art-of-waiting-by-james-tissot/. Web. 8 July 2019.

Sotheby’s. “Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist Art, 11 July 2019.” Lot 36, Condition Report. https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2019/victorian-pre-raphaelite-and-british-impressionist-art/james-jacques-joseph-tissot-room-overlooking-the. 11 July 2019.

Thorne James. Handbook to the Environs of London, Part I. London: John Murray, 1876.

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

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

Related posts:

The Art of Waiting, by James Tissot

Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot

Tissot and Degas visit the Louvre, 1879

James Tissot Domesticated

© 2019 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. 

CH377762

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.

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.

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Who was the Comtesse d’Yanville?

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “Who was the Comtesse d’Yanville?” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/06/13/who-was-the-comtesse-dyanville/. Web. <Date viewed>.

 

Tissot’s pastel portrait, Comtesse d’Yanville and Her Four Children (c. 1895), was gifted to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts by Ruth and Bruce Dayton in 1997, but it is not currently on view. Measuring 53 3/16 by 49 1/2 in. (135.1 by 125.73 cm), the large work  shows the young countess in a richly decorated interior, surrounded by her children in white pinafores (left to right): Isaure and Simone in the background, and in the foreground, Daniel and Nicole. The woman in this aristocratic picture is wealthy and privileged, but she knew a great deal of heartbreak.

Comtesse_d’Yanville_and_Her_Four_Children,_by_James_Tissot

The Comtesse d’Yanville and Her Four Children (c. 1895), by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The Comtesse d’Yanville was Henriette-Marguerite Vivier-Deslandes (1864-1932), daughter of Baron Émile-Auguste Vivier-Deslandes (1832-1917) and Émilie Caroline Simone Hélène Oppenheim (1840-1866), a woman of German origin who died when she was two.

Portrait_du_Dr_Gérard_Encausse_(dit_Papus)_-_Auguste-Émile_Deslandes, 1899

Portrait of Dr. Gerard Encausse, dit Papus (1899), by Baron Deslandes.

Her father, who was born in Florence, Italy, was in his youth a French naval officer who received the Médaille Militaire, was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1858, and became an administrator and diplomat.

A descendent of Pauline Bonaparte, sister of Napoléon I, he was created the first Baron Vivier-Deslandes by Napoléon III in 1862, the year of his marriage, through the resurrection of an extinct family title.

His maternal grandmother, Angelica Catalani (1780-1849) had been painted by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. He became a painter who by 1894 was an associate of the Society of French artists, exhibiting in the Salon as Baron Deslandes.

In 1886, his daughter Marguerite married Marie Thibaud Pierre Henry Coustant, the second Comte d’Yanville (1865-1951), a sportsman who soon became a prominent coach racer, photographed many times for Universal Sport Illustrated. He participated in the Paris-Deauville excursion of 1905.

The couple quickly had four children, beginning with three daughters: Simone (1887-1963), Isaure (1888-1966), and Nicole (1889-1977).

Chevalier_légion_d'honneurTheir son, Daniel, was born in late 1890, and was killed in action weeks before his twenty-fourth birthday on November 4, 1914, at Mont-Kemmel, Heuvelland (Belgium). He was a Second Lieutenant in the 5th Dragoon Regiment and is buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. He was characterized as earnest, upright, and devoted to his country. His father said as he was leaving to fight for his country, “Pray God that you may come back safe”, and Daniel responded “No! Pray rather that I may do my duty, and more than my duty.” Daniel was well regarded by the men he led, according to an account by The Beaumont Union, and he was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. When breaking the news of his son’s death to Comte d’Yanville, his Colonel called him “a young officer full of gaiety, vigour and courage who rightly looked forward to a brilliant future.” He was struck by a shell and killed instantly.

Daniel’s name lived on. His sister, Simone, married Guy de la Mure Riviera (1870-1957) in 1908. They had two daughters and two sons, the younger of whom was Daniel de Rivière de la Mure (1913-1994).

Daniel’s sister, Isaure, was married in 1920 to Comte Gaston Christyn de Ribaucourt (1882-1961). Like her mother, she had three daughters and one son, Comte Daniel Robert Henry Adolphe Christyn de Ribaucourt (1922-2007).

Leaving many descendants, the Comtesse d’Yanville, Henriette-Marguerite Vivier-Deslandes, died at her home in 56 rue des Saints-Pères, Paris on October 18, 1932, at the age of 68. Tissot’s image of her as a beautiful young mother, wearing a pale pink gown and surrounded by her four happy children, lives on.

Related posts:

Belle Époque Portraits in Pastel by James Tissot

Paris, 1885-1900

Portrait of the Pilgrim: James Tissot’s Reinvention (1885-1895)

Portrait of the Pilgrim: “not necessary or advisable to start a controversy” (1896-1898)

Portrait of the Pilgrim: “a dealer of genius” (1899-1900)

 

© 2019 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. 

CH377762

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.

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 “Embarkation at Calais”

James Tissot began a follow-up series to his 1883-85 series of large-scale paintings, La Femme à Paris (The Parisian Woman), to be called L’Etrangère (The Foreign Woman), but he only completed two canvases. The first, L’Esthétique (The Aesthetic Woman, or In the Louvre, 1883-1885), entered the renowned Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian art collection of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1962.

The other, La Voyageuse (The Embarkation at Calais, or The Traveller, 1883-1885), is in the collection of the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (The Royal Museum of Fine Arts), Antwerp, and I was able to view it a few weeks ago. It is a large picture, measuring 146.5 by 102 by 1.7 cm (57.7 by 40.2 by .7 in.), and it is known there as The Embarkation at Calais.

Embarkation at Calais, KMSKA, copyright Hugo Maertens

James Joseph Jacques Tissot, Embarkation at Calais, KMSKA, Photo: Hugo Maertens

In this lively scene, a beautiful, fashionable, and confident woman descends a ship’s gangplank unaccompanied, surrounded by fellow travelers, sailors, and laborers. You can hear the shouts and sounds of the dock workers, the thumping footfall of the porter bearing her trunk, and the din of the genteel stampede behind her.

goodbye-on-the-mersey

“Goodbye” – On the Mersey (c. 1881), by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

In mid-1871, following the Franco-Prussian War and the bloody days of the Commune, James Tissot moved to London.

Around 1876, he met Kathleen Newton, who moved in with him and became his principal model. Mrs. Newton, a divorcée with two children, died of tuberculosis on November 9, 1882, at age 28, at Tissot’s villa in suburban St. John’s Wood.

Immediately after her funeral on November 14, Tissot returned to Paris, beside himself with grief [see James Tissot’s garden idyll & Kathleen Newton’s death.]

The Embarkation at Calais seems to portray an English woman, connected with his images of Kathleen Newton travelling [see Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot].

In fact, if you look closely just behind the woman’s head, you’ll see a ghostly figure of a woman wearing Mrs. Newton’s distinctive triple-caped greatcoat and high black bonnet. The face is not Kathleen’s though; it’s as if Tissot has put her unforgettable garb on some anonymous stand-in.

Ghost of Kathleen Newton

Arthur_d'Echérac_(Bracquemond_1883)

Portrait of Arthur d’Echerac (1883, etching), by Félix Barcquemond.

The Embarkation at Calais was exhibited at Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris, in 1885. In 1903, about twenty years after Tissot painted it, it was donated to The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp by Belgian art collector, art dealer, and critic Paul Leroi (Léon Gauchez 1825-1907).

It is interesting that Leroi, who from 1875 to the year of his death co-published the illustrated weekly magazine, L’art, owned this picture; in 1885, L’art printed an unflattering review of Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series by G. Dargenty [pseudonym of the sculptor, public administrator and art critic Arthur Auguste d’Echérac (1832-1919)] that referred to the central figures as “graceful puppets put into movement on the stage where they are used to performing, who call for neither commentary nor notes, inspire neither admiration nor repugnance nor desires, and are content to be interesting and pleasant to see.”

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp has been closed for renovation since late 2011. Tissot’s painting, displayed in Antwerp, the Netherlands, and Honfleur, France over the past decade and a half, was last exhibited in public in “James Tissot: 1836-1902” (September 26, 2015 – February 21, 2016), held at the Palazzo Montoro in Rome, Italy. Now in storage in the museum’s facility in Kallo, about twenty minutes outside Antwerp in the harbor, it was made available for me to view by the accommodating staff.

IMG_1586, edited

My embarkation at Antwerp, in the splendid Central Station (c. 1905)

IMG_1563                             IMG_2567 (2)

At first glance, it is an odd picture for Tissot – cheerless, using the thick, dry pigment that characterized his La Femme à Paris series but in a dark palette of browns, greys and blues with touches of burnt sienna for contrast. It’s as if Tissot has lost his direction, attempting to soldier on in the vein of the unsuccessful La Femme à Paris but without the passion that animated that project.

He had left his shining, enameled Academic style behind when he emigrated to England in mid-1871, but in this painting, there is none of the palpable self-confidence, exuberant brushwork, or wit, that characterized his best work throughout the 1870s, and in his remaining years with Kathleen Newton. Yet in its myriad vignettes, Tissot still shows his fascination with individual faces and human emotion. Even dejected and directionless, he can’t create a composition that doesn’t brim with life. This is the quality that Vincent van Gogh described in a letter to his brother, Theo, on September 24, 1880:

“A discerning critic once rightly said of James Tissot, ‘He is a troubled soul.’  However this may be, there is something of the human soul in his work and that is why he is great, immense, infinite…”

The museum staff kindly shared a high-resolution image for this article, so let’s get a good look at some of Tissot’s details.

Calais porter, top left

In his expression, his shoulders and his hands, we can see how the porter strains under his heavy load.

Soldier in background

The crowd on the pier is so detailed, it seems copied from a photograph.

Background couple

A rather smug-looking couple glances curiously at the central figure – or at us?

Crowd in background, top right

A young mother protectively hurries her two little daughters through the throng.

Dock worker, far right

A dock worker squats, his strong hands anticipating the next task.

Dock workers, bottom right corner

The captain automatically offers his hand, though the lady is managing well on her own, while the laborers to his right go about their business.

Calling worker's hands

We can tell how loudly this worker must shout to be heard.

Rope puller, lower left corner

Another dock worker quietly concentrates on the job at hand.

Lady's feet

We see no heels on the lady’s narrow leather boots, and so she appears to float.

Lady's plaid skirt, blanket detail

Tissot again demonstrates his love of painting plaid.

The Lady's gloves

The lady’s movement is suggested by the wrinkles in her gloves and the drape of her skirt.

Lady's head

A beautiful face, a self-possessed demeanor.

The lady, full length

There is something ethereal about this veiled woman, so weightless on those tiny feet, and strangely detached from the humanity surrounding her. Is she alone, or is the mysterious, headless man behind her actually with her? Overall, this is an unexpectedly haunting and somewhat sad painting of what it feels like to be lonely in a crowd of strangers: everyone is busy with their own tasks and emotional life, and not one of these people is engaged with any of the others. There is a strong sense in The Embarkation at Calais that, rather than portraying the life around him, James Tissot was inadvertently portraying his own psychological state at this time, between Kathleen Newton’s death and his imminent, abrupt reincarnation as a Bible illustrator. The Embarkation at Calais is significant in that this was Tissot’s last painting of “modern life.”

With special thanks to the following staff

at Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen:

Fleur Van Paassen, Registrar

Johan Willems, Depot Manager

Madeleine ter Kuile, Imaging Manager

© 2019 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:

James Tissot’s “A Civic Procession” (c. 1879)

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

A Closer Look at Tissot’s “The Ball on Shipboard”

A Closer Look: The Circus Lover (The Amateur Circus), by James Tissot

A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Hush! (The Concert)”

CH377762

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.

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.

 

Portrait of the Pilgrim: “a dealer of genius” (1899-1900)

James Tissot, having devoted years researching and completing his Life of Christ illustrations, did not leave his reputation to his friends.

Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Sermon_of_the_Beatitudes_(La_sermon_des_béatitudes)_-_James_Tissot

The Sermon of the Beatitudes (La sermon des béatitudes, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

In March, 1899, an eleven-page article on Tissot and his Christianity and art appeared in McClure’s Magazine. Written by Cleveland Moffett, a 36-year-old American journalist, the article was based on personal interviews with the artist, now 62, over several weeks.

It begins with a long shot of Tissot’s lone figure on a cliff, standing in rugged travel garb with his hands at his hips, surveying a vast desert landscape, over the caption, “The Place where the Sermon on the Mount was Pronounced” – along with a reproduction of Tissot’s watercolor, The Sermon on the Mount (right), showing the same landscape, this time crowded, with Jesus standing on the spot where Tissot was photographed. The awestruck Moffett extols Tissot’s “vigor” and describes him at the outset: “the spiritual quality in this distinguished artist is one of his most striking characteristics. Not only is he deeply religious in his daily life, but he is something beyond that: he is a mystic and a seer of visions.”

Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Procession_in_the_Streets_of_Jerusalem_(Le_cortège_dans_les_rues_de_Jérusalem)_-_James_Tissot

The Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem (Le cortège dans les rues de Jérusalem, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

Moffett described Tissot’s earlier career, supplanted by his new religious fervor: “And now in the East a star of guidance shone out clear, a sign in the heavens beckoning this man, calling him to Jerusalem, and he heard the call and answered it.”

Moffet recorded Tissot’s anecdotes of his travels. In November, 1886, approaching Jerusalem in the rain, Tissot reprimanded the guide for suggesting a short cut: “Do you think I have traveled two thousand miles to have my first impression spoiled? Do you think I have come here like a scampering tourist?”

Tissot also told Moffett how he painted his pictures – and that “many of his best pictures were never painted at all, because the very gorgeousness of the scene made it slip from him as a dream vanishes, and it would not come back. ‘Oh,’ he sighed, ‘the things that I have seen in the life of Christ, but could not remember! They were too splendid to keep.’”

Brooklyn_Museum_-_What_Our_Lord_Saw_from_the_Cross_(Ce_que_voyait_Notre-Seigneur_sur_la_Croix)_-_James_Tissot

What Our Lord Saw from the Cross (Ce que voyait Notre-Seigneur sur la Croix, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

In 1900, Tissot entered into partnership with the McClure Company of New York to publish The Life of Christ, previously published in New York by L. Weiss & Co. (1896-97) and Doubleday (1898).

Tissot’s talent for publicizing his piety while monetizing his Christianity did not sit well with some of his friends.

Edmond de Goncourt, a cynical observer of those around him and whose novel, Renée Mauperin (1884), Tissot had illustrated, did not find him credible; Goncourt wrote in his journal in January, 1890, “Tissot, this complex being, with his mysticism and cunning, this intelligent worker, despite his unintelligent skull and his eyes of a cooked whiting, was passionate, finding every two or three years a new passion, with which he contracted a new little lease on his life.”

Edgar Degas, once one of Tissot’s closest friends, had a different reaction to his success: fury. He wrote in a letter to Ludovic Halévy, “Now he’s got religion. He says he experiences inconceivable joy in his faith. At the same time he not only sells his own products high but sells his friends’ pictures as well…To think we lived together as friends and then…Well, I can take my vengeance. I shall do a caricature of Tissot with Christ behind him, whipping him, and call it Christ driving His Merchant from the Temple. My God!”

Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Merchants_Chased_from_the_Temple_(Les_vendeurs_chassés_du_Temple)_-_James_Tissot

The Merchants Chased from the Temple (Les vendeurs chassés du Temple, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Bad_Rich_Man_in_Hell_(Le_mauvais_riche_dans_l'Enfer)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

The Bad Rich Man in Hell (Le mauvais riche dans l’Enfer, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

While Tissot was not alone in selling works bought from Degas or received from him as gifts, he did sell at least two. In 1890, Tissot sold Degas’ Horses in a Meadow (1872) for an unknown amount to art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who kept it until his death in 1922. Durand-Ruel actually had purchased the picture from Degas in 1872 and sold it in January, 1874 for under 1,000 francs to Paris opera baritone Jean Baptiste Faure (1830-1914). Faure returned it to Degas, who gave it as a gift to James Tissot. Several years later, on January 11, 1897, Tissot sold a painting that Degas had given him as a gift in 1876, right after finishing it – a portrait of a woman named Lyda, titled Woman with Binoculars. Tissot received 1,500 francs from Durand-Ruel for the picture; Durand-Ruel sold it to H. Paulus that November for 6,000 francs. After keeping the picture for over twenty years, why did Tissot sell it – especially for a mere 1,500 francs when it was worth four times that? [Tissot sold Manet’s Blue Venice in 1891, possibly at a profit, after Manet’s 1883 death had made his work valuable; he bought it on March 24, 1875 for 2,500 francs, after the two painters had traveled to Venice together, and Manet badly needed the income.]

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Goes_Up_Alone_onto_a_Mountain_to_Pray_(Jésus_monte_seul_sur_une_montagne_pour_prier)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

Jesus Goes Up Alone onto a Mountain to Pray (Jésus monte seul sur une montagne pour prier, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

But any profit realized by the sale of these paintings paled in comparison to the income the French painter in the English business suit was earning from his own work.

In 1900, at the end of the North American tour, James Tissot’s Life of Christ water-colors and pen-and-ink drawings were purchased by the rapidly expanding Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, now the Brooklyn Museum, as advised by the painter John Singer Sargent. Sargent referred to Tissot as “a dealer of genius,” but the museum’s trustees wanted to attract the crowds that flocked to Tissot’s exhibitions.

Tissot set the price for these 540 works – he refused to allow them to be sold separately – at the substantial price of $60,000. The money was raised by public subscription.

According to the museum’s website, “Every two or three days, newspaper headlines in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle urged the borough to ‘Bring the Tissot Pictures Here.’ The Eagle published the names of the donors and the amounts they had pledged toward the acquisition, which the paper described as ‘the most important contribution to the knowledge of the life of Christ that has been given to mankind in the form of art since the creations of the great masters of the Italian, Spanish and Dutch schools of painting.’” Subscriptions flowed in at the rate of $300 – $1,000 per day for several months.

In 1992, the Brooklyn Museum acquired a sketchbook of studies Tissot made during his research trips to the Middle East.

Tissot’s Life of Christ illustrations, not currently on view, were last exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum in 2009-2010.

© 2019 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:

Portrait of the Pilgrim: James Tissot’s Reinvention (1885-1895)

Portrait of the Pilgrim: “not necessary or advisable to start a controversy” (1896-1898)

James Tissot the Collector:  His works by Degas, Manet & Pissarro

CH377762

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

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

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

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

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

 

Paris, 1885-1900

April 1 is my birthday, and I write an annual April Fool’s Day post, so here’s something fun: an illustrated timeline of James Tissot’s life in Paris during La Belle Époque. It puts him in the context of his time, and it provides us a little escapism.

woman-of-fashion-la-mondaine-1885

La Mondaine (The Woman of Fashion), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 58 by 40 in. (147.32 by 101.60 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

1er_juin_1885_-_Enterrement_Victor_Hugo

Cortège toward the Panthéon with Victor Hugo’s coffin, Paris, June 1, 1885 (Wikipedia.org)

In 1885, Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series was exhibited at Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris, along with his collection of the cloisonné enamels he created. Upon his return to Paris after living in England for eleven years following the Franco-Prussian War, he intended this series to reestablish his place in the French art world, but it was not well received.

June 1, 1885 was a day of national mourning for the death of poet and novelist Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), revered as a national hero for his passionate defense of democracy as well as his contributions to French culture. He had requested a pauper’s funeral but was given a state funeral, and more than two million people followed his coffin as the cortège carried it from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon, where he was buried.

Forain_-_The_tightrope_walker

The Tight-Rope Walker (c. 1885), by Jean-Louis Forain. Art Institute of Chicago. (Wikimedia.org)

Two days before Hugo’s death, Tissot participated in a séance in London, where he exchanged kisses with an apparition he believed to be his late mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton (1854–1882).

During this year, he became engaged to Louise Riesener (1860 – 1944), daughter of painter Léon Riesener, but she was 25 and he was 49, and she changed her mind.

Tissot also had a brief romance with a tightrope walker in a Paris circus.

Tissot joined the new Société de pastellistes français and exhibited his work. From the mid-1880s to the early 1890s, he executed about forty portraits of aristocratic and Society women, most often in pastel.

Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will, James-Jacques-Joseph Tis

Portrait of Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will (c. 1883 – 1885), by James Tissot. Pastel on linen. Private collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Caricature_Gustave_Eiffel

Caricature of Gustave Eiffel, Le Temps, February 14, 1887.

In 1886, Tissot exhibited his La Femme à Paris series at Arthur Tooth and Sons, London as “Pictures of Parisian Life by J.J. Tissot”; they were not well received. In Paris, he exhibited with the Société d’aquarellistes français.

But in 1885, James Tissot had a religious revelation, in the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris, and he decided he would dedicate the rest of his life to illustrating of the Bible. Between October 1886 and March 1887, he traveled to the Middle East to research his illustrated Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ  visiting sites in Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria to make his work as authentic and realistic as possible.

While Tissot was abroad, work began on an iron tower on the Champs de Mars, to be a centerpiece for the 1889 Exposition Universelle: the foundations of the Eiffel Tower were laid in late January, 1887. A “Committee of Three Hundred” – the most important figures in the cultural life of France – protested that this “gigantic black smokestack” would dominate Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and other monuments in Paris “in this ghastly dream.”

There is no indication of Tissot’s opinion on Eiffel’s tower; the United Kingdom, rather than Paris, seemed to be his focus. In 1887, he exhibited at least one painting, Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern (1874), at Nottingham Castle and at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and in 1888, he exhibited three works at the International Exhibition, Glasgow.

Construction_tour_eiffel4

Eiffel Tower: Installation of the pillars above the first level (May 15, 1888). (Wikimedia.org)

Construction on the Eiffel Tower was proceeding steadily, and by the end of the year, Tissot would have been able to see it from the villa he had built in 1867 near the entrance to the Bois de Boulogne, at the far west end of what is now avenue Foch.

In 1888, Tissot’s father died, leaving him the Château de Buillon, near Besançon, in eastern France. During his remaining years, Tissot lived partly at his villa in Paris and partly at the Château.

Central_Dome_of_the_Gallery_des_Machines_Exposition_Universelle_de_Paris_1889_by_Louis_Beroud_1852_1930

Central Dome of the World Fair in Paris, 1889 (1890), by Louis Béroud (Wikimedia.org)

But Tissot exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, winning a gold medal for his Prodigal Son series.

Paul_Renouard_-_Café_Tortoni

Café Tortoni (1889), by Paul Renouard. (Wikimedia.org)

Bérard_Gloppe

La Pâtisserie Gloppe au Champs-Élysées (1889), ), by Jean Béraud. (Wikipedia.org)

Le_bar_de_Maxim's_par_Pierre-Victor_Galland_(A)

The Bar at Maxim’s (c. 1895), by Pierre-Victor Galland. (Wikimedia.org)

Henri_de_Toulouse-Lautrec,_At_the_Moulin_Rouge

At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance (1889-90), by
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Wikipedia.org)

It seems unlikely that Tissot avoided the sophisticated delights of Paris, including its café culture, but in 1889, he left for his second journey to the Middle East to research his illustrated Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1893, focusing on the art market beyond France, he exhibited in the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, displaying his Prodigal Son series and one of his pastel portraits.

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Goes_Up_Alone_onto_a_Mountain_to_Pray_(Jésus_monte_seul_sur_une_montagne_pour_prier)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

Jesus Goes Up Alone onto a Mountain to Pray (Jésus monte seul sur une montagne pour prier, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

Alphonse_Daudet_Vanity_Fair_11_March_1893

Caricature of Alphonse Daudet, Vanity Fair, March 11, 1893.

But after his long absence as a prominent artist in Paris, James Tissot stole the show at the Salon of 1894.

He exhibited 270 of the ultimate total of 365 drawings for La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (The Life of Christ).

The pictures were given a gallery and a special catalogue. The public reaction was astonishing: one headline read, “THE CHAMP DE MARS SALON; JAMES TISSOT’S LIFE OF CHRIST A MARVELOUS SERIES. Women Weep as They Pass from Picture to Picture.”

Tissot’s achievement was the talk of Paris; at a dinner party on May 6, 1894 given by Tissot’s longtime friends Alphonse and Julia Daudet, celebrated writer Émile Zola said he was “captivated” by Tissot’s Bible illustrations.

the-princesse-de-broglie

The Princesse de Broglie (c. 1895), by James Tissot.

poster-for-victorien-sardou-s-gismonda-starring-sarah-bernhardt-at-the-théâtre-de-la-1894.jpg!PinterestSmall

Gismonda (1894), by Alphonse Mucha (Wiki)

James Tissot’s presence at Robert, Comte de Montesquiou’s extravagant “fête littéraire” at Versailles in 1894, along with princes and princesses, counts and countesses, indicates that Tissot socialized among the upper echelon of Parisian Society, where he found many of the subjects for his pastel portraits.

On January 1, 1895, Parisians awoke to find a startling, life-sized advertisement for Victorien Sardou’s play Gismonda starring Sarah Bernhardt at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris posted on the streets.

Designed by an unknown Czech, Alphonse Mucha, the poster almost immediately was pulled down by collectors.

summer.jpg!Large

Summer (1878), by James Tissot.

Alfons_Mucha_-_1896_-_Summer

Summer (1896), by Alphonse Mucha.

The new style, or Art Nouveau, was emerging throughout Europe, inspired by the natural, curving lines of plants and flowers. It influenced the decorative arts, architecture, interior design, jewelry, furniture, and fashion. James Tissot’s “modern art” of the 1870s and 1880s was completely outdated, and his realization of this must have contributed to his dedication to his Bible illustrations, which he considered historical accurate and therefore timeless.

In 1895, Tissot exhibited his entire series of 365 Life of Christ illustrations in Paris, and he exhibited the next year in London. La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ was published in France, and he received a million francs for the reproduction rights. In 1896, he made a third trip to the Middle East, this time to begin an illustrated Old Testament (which would be published in 1904, two years after his death).

Clément_Maurice_Paris_en_plein_air,_BUC,_1897,146_Boulevard_Bonne-Nouvelle._Devant_la_rue_de_la_Lune

Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle, in front of rue de la Lune (1897), by Clément Maurice, PARIS, Paris en plein air, Le Beau Pays de France. (Wikimedia.org)

Clément_Maurice_Paris_en_plein_air,_BUC,_1897,072_L'Heure_des_fiacres

L’heure des fiacres (1897), by Clément Maurice, PARIS, Paris en plein air, Le Beau Pays de France. (Wikimedia.org)

About this time, Tissot began work in Paris on a colossal Christ Pantocrator for the high altar of the convent church of the Dominicans in the rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

In 1897, he exhibited his Life of Christ illustrations at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and The Life of Our Saviour Jesus Christ was published in London and New York. In December, there was a dedication ceremony for his completed Christ Pantocrator.

Eglise_du_couvent_de_l'Annonciation_06

The church of the convent of the Annunciation, built in 1860: No. 222 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore, Paris 8th. Christ Pantocrator painted by James Tissot and installed in 1897. (Wikimedia.org)

Eglise_du_couvent_de_l'Annonciation_02

Interior of the church of the convent of the Annunciation. (Wikimedia.org)

Paris, in preparation for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, was growing: the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais were under construction as exhibition halls, and the Alexandre III bridge and the Gare d’Orsay were being built to facilitate the movement of the influx of visitors.

But James Tissot was busy arranging the North American tour of his Life of Christ illustrations. In February, 1898, he visited New York, and in October, he traveled to Chicago, then returned to New York for the opening of his exhibition. His New Testament watercolors toured New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, Boston, St. Louis, Omaha, and other cities through 1899, to adoring crowds.

Camille_Pissarro_003, rain

Place du Théâtre Français, Paris: Rain (1898), by Camille Pissarro. Minneapolis Museum of Art. Minneapolis Museum of Art. (Wikimedia.org)

Exposition_univ_1900The Exposition Universelle was held in Paris from April 14 to November 12, 1900, and nearly fifty million people visited it.

James Tissot, now 64 years old, did not display any of his work.

In 1900, at the end of the North American tour, Tissot’s Life of Christ water-colors and pen-and-ink drawings were purchased by the rapidly expanding Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, now the Brooklyn Museum; the museum’s trustees wanted to attract the crowds that flocked to Tissot’s exhibitions. Tissot set the price at $60,000, an enormous sum that was raised by public donations.

Gare-d'Orsay-BaS

Gare d’Orsay, Paris, Paris-Orléans railway, c. 1900 (Wikipedia.org)

Pont_Alexandre_III

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, c. 1900.  (Wikipedia.org)

Le_Petit_Palais_3,_Exposition_Universelle_1900

Le Petit Palais, c 1900 (Wikimedia.org)

Le_Chateau_d'eau_and_plaza,_Exposition_Universal,_1900,_Paris,_France

View of the Champ-de-Mars towards the Château d’eau, Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900.  (Wikimedia.org)

Vue_panoramique_de_l'exposition_universelle_de_1900

Panoramic view of the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900. (Wikipedia.org)

Joaquín_Pallarés_Allustante_Porte_Dauphine_Bois_de_Boulogne_1872

Porte Dauphine at the Bois de Boulogne, by Joaquín Pallarés Allustante (Wiki)

Beginning in 1898, the Paris Métro was under construction. Hector Guimard (1867 – 1942) designed roofed Art Nouveau entrances to the various métro stations. One, the Porte Dauphine station, was built adjacent to Tissot’s villa in the avenue du Bois de Boulogne. Opened in 1900, it is the only original (not reconstructed) Guimard Métro station entrance still on its original site. It was restored in 1999.

James Tissot died in 1902. It is believed that his Paris villa, once visited by “all the princes and princesses,” was demolished in 1906.

Porte_Dauphine_photo_gallery_no.1

Art Nouveau entrance to the Porte Dauphine Métro station in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, designed by Hector Guimard and opened in 1900. (Wikipedia.org)

© 2019 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:

Belle Époque Portraits in Pastel by James Tissot

Paris, June 1871

The high life, 1868: Tissot, his villa & The Circle of the Rue Royale

Paris c. 1865: The Giddy Life of Second Empire France

The James Tissot Tour of Paris

Previous April Fool’s Day posts:

The Missing Tissot Nudes

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

Tissot and his Friends Clown Around

Happy Hour with James Tissot

Tissot’s Tiger Skin: A Prominent Prop

James Tissot, the painter art critics love to hate

View my video, “The Strange Career of James Tissot” (Length:  2:33 minutes).

CH377762

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.

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.

Portrait of the Pilgrim: “not necessary or advisable to start a controversy” (1896-1898)

james_tissot_-_photo_005-old-man-in-chair

James Tissot, 1898

In 1896, James Tissot embarked on his third and final voyage to the Middle East to begin an illustrated Old Testament [published in 1904]. He was sixty, making yet another long working journey, this time for a new project. On the ship, English painter and illustrator George Percy Jacomb-Hood (1857 – 1929) encountered Tissot and found him “a very neatly dressed, elegant figure, with a grey military moustache and beard…gloved and groomed as if for the boulevard.”

Tissot arranged with the firm Mame et fils, of Tours, to publish his Life of Christ illustrations in France in 1896-97.

He received a million francs for the reproduction rights of their two editions – a regular one, and a deluxe version printed on handmade paper with silk bindings, enclosed in wooden boxes – printed in Paris by Lemercier, with Tissot’s close supervision of the color plates. The first twenty copies of the deluxe edition were sold for 5,000 francs each, and advance subscriptions were sold to such luminaries as the Czar of Russia, the Queen of Spain, Tolstoy, and Sarah Bernhardt. Mame presented a copy to Félix Faure, the president of France.

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Our Lord Jesus Christ (Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

To promote sales, Tissot’s illustrations were exhibited at the Lemercier Gallery in London in 1896, and Mame exhibited reproductions alongside the original watercolors in Paris in May, 1897. That exhibition was extended into June when 20,000 visitors packed the gallery in the first two weeks.

The Life of Christ was published in New York in 1896-97 and in an autograph edition in 1898.

Tissot corresponded with William Gladstone in 1897, in reference to his Bible illustrations, a year before the former British Prime Minister’s death. Gladstone wrote to him that his New Testament was “a remarkable work by a remarkable man.” The Life of Christ was published in London in 1897-98, with a dedication to Gladstone; a new edition was published there in 1898-99.

In February, 1898, Tissot traveled to New York to arrange the tour of his Life of Christ illustrations. He made a second trip to the United States in October, first visiting Chicago to arrange the tour of the Life of Christ illustrations, then returning to New York for the exhibition opening.

A female reporter for the Chicago Post met Tissot strolling around the Art Institute where his watercolors soon would be exhibited, and she described him as a man with “a gray mustache as fine as General Miller’s own, [in] an eminently easy, up-to-date English business suit.”

He took the reporter off guard by telling her he planned to tour Chicago’s famous stockyards during his stay. She had heard the rumor that Tissot was about to retire to a Trappist monastery; this idea seemed based on the fact that the Château de Buillon near Besançon in eastern France, which he had inherited from his father in 1888, had been built on the site of a twelfth-century Cistercian monastery.

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The Château de Buillon, along the Loue River (Wikimedia.org)

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Antonio de la Gándara, self-portrait c. 1895 (Wiki)

During one of Tissot’s two 1898 trips to New York, he met with Parisian Society portraitist Antonio de la Gándara (1861-1917) at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, opened in 1893 on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street. The two painters, who both socialized with the eccentric dandy and snob Robert, Comte de Montesquiou at his opulent home in Versailles, shared the Comte’s interest in japonisme as well as in spiritualism and séances, or “turn-table exercises,” such as those pursued at painter Madeleine Lemaire’s salon. Built by millionaire developer William Waldorf Astor, the Waldorf Hotel catered to the upper crust of New York Society and to distinguished foreign visitors.

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Waldorf Hotel, New York, 1893 (Wikimedia)

Tissot was worldly enough to have been aware of the decadent, Versailles-themed Gilded Age costume ball given at the Waldorf Hotel by Bradley Martin, a New York lawyer, and his wife Cornelia on February 10, 1897 – outraging the nation with its extravagance after two decades of economic depression and high unemployment.

On that night, police guarded the entrances, protecting the guests arriving in their fine carriages from the public gawkers, and once inside, liveried attendants guided them upstairs and through the corridors to rose-filled dressing rooms.

The sight of the guests descending the stairs to the ballroom “recalled some old picture of a stately court function in one of the capitals of Europe,” and in the ballroom, it seemed as if “some fairy god-mother, in a dream, had revived the glories of the past.” The women, fifty of whom were dressed as Marie Antoinette, were festooned with “thousand millions of dollars in precious stones,” according to The New York Times, some of which had been purchased from the sale of the French crown jewels in May, 1887.

The ball, with its 28-course supper of caviar-stuffed oysters, lobster à la Newburg, roast English suckling pig, terrapin, and canvasback duck stuffed with truffles, included four thousand bottles of 1884 Moët et Chandon, at a cost of $369,000 (over £ 7 million today).

Though the play-acting by New York’s wealthy at being Old World aristocrats was galling to the American public, James Tissot recently had participated in the real thing: his friend the Comte de Montesquiou’s extravagant garden party at his eighteenth-century pavilion in Versailles, in the spring of 1894, which Marcel Proust likened to a dream, “where, for a few hours, we believed we were living in the days of Louis XIV!”

Bradley-Martin Ball, Harpers

Bradley-Martin Ball of 1897 from the Harper’s Weekly Illustrated Newspaper (Wiki)

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Madison Square looking north, Manhattan, New York City, in 1893 (Wikipedia.org)

On November 15, 1898, the day after the Life of Christ exhibition opened at the American Art Galleries at Madison Square South, The New York Times ran a rather lukewarm review on Tissot’s Bible illustrations: “It is claimed for M. Tissot by his friends and admirers that he is one of the few artists of modern times who has attempted an artistic rendition of episodes in the life of Christ in a  truly devotional spirit and without thought of gain, and as proof of this they point to his piety and to his intense religious convictions. It is not necessary or advisable to start a controversy on this question.” The reviewer continued, “As to how individual transcriptions of this or that episode will impress the visitor it is of course impossible to say,” and while admitting that Tissot’s pictures “are worthy of reverent study,” and “certainly original,” added, “but one person will be impressed here and there, where another will see only what is bizarre or curious.”

Three days later, after calling on Archbishop Corrigan, Tissot was dragged nearly a block when trying to board a Madison Avenue line trolley car, leaving him bruised and unnerved. He was 62 years old.

A long article, “A Believer’s Pictures of Christ,” by Charles De Kay, appeared in The New York Times on December 11, 1898, stating, “Tissot is a straightforward, honest believer in the existence and Godhead of the Saviour.” Illustrated with six of Tissot’s pen and ink drawings, the article concluded, “Tissot’s scenes and glimpses from the life of Christ cannot fail to charm all serious souls.”

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Suffer the Little Children to Come unto Me (Laisser venir à moi les petits enfants, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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The Ascension (L’Ascension, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

Tissot’s New Testament watercolors toured New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, Boston, St. Louis, Omaha, and other cities through 1899, to adoring crowds who by the end of the decade brought Tissot the huge sum of $100,000 in entrance fees. The astonishing financial success of Biblical works put him a bit on the defensive: he seemed to feel the need to emphasize his personal piety amid the profits.

Tissot’s “friends and admirers” certainly would have included the late, acclaimed French artist Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (1815 – 1891), whom Tissot used to entertain in his Paris villa during his heyday under the Second Empire. In 1897, Meissonier’s biographer noted that he was very proud of Tissot, one of his protégés, whose career he followed closely, and who fulfilled the hopes he entertained of his future. According to Meissonier, “Tissot has noble visions. He is in love with the ideal. He devotes himself entirely to religious subjects now. He wanders in Palestine, among the scenes of the great events of the Gospels…”

© 2019 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:

Portrait of the Pilgrim: James Tissot’s Reinvention (1885-1895)

Belle Époque Portraits in Pastel by James Tissot

The Company He Kept: James Tissot’s Friends

 

CH377762

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.

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.

 

Portrait of the Pilgrim: James Tissot’s Reinvention (1885-1895)

In 1885, when James Tissot could have retired a wealthy man, he reinvented himself. He had earned a total of 1,200,000 francs during his years painting in London (1871 to 1882), largely for the newly-wealthy industrialists of the capital and cities in the north. His stylish images of fashionable women and the leisured life in Victorian England sold for high prices as “modern” art for those who wished to establish themselves as men of taste.

The Most Beautiful Woman in Paris

La Plus Jolie Femme de Paris (The Most Beautiful Woman in Paris, or The Fashionable Beauty, from La Femme à Paris, 1883-85), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas. Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, Switzerland.

But Tissot had returned to Paris immediately after the death of Kathleen Newton, his beautiful young mistress and muse, from tuberculosis in November, 1882. His brilliant early career in the French capital was in the past, and he had tried, and failed, to reclaim his place in the French art world as a painter of modern life with his La Femme à Paris (The Parisian Woman) series, exhibited at the Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris, from April 19 to June 15, 1885, as “Quinze Tableaux sur la Femme à Paris.”

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William Eglinton (c. 1886) (Wiki)

Tissot tried to contact Kathleen Newton through a series of séances, fashionable at the time.

On May 20, 1885, at a séance in London conducted by English medium William Eglington (1857–1933) [who had been exposed as a fraud as early as 1876 but nevertheless enjoyed a successful career], Tissot recognized the female of two spirits who appeared as Kathleen, and he asked her to kiss him.

The spirit is said to have done so, several times, with “lips of fire.” Then she shook hands with Tissot and disappeared.

He made this image of the vision, L’apparition médiunimique, to commemorate their reunion.

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L’Apparition médiunimique (The Apparition, 1885), by James Tissot. Mezzotint, Private Collection.  (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

That year, James Tissot had another vision, “a strange and thrilling picture” of Christ. In 1885, while in the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris looking for inspiration for his final painting of the La Femme à Paris series, Musique sacrée (Sacred Music), which depicted a fashionable woman singing a duet with a nun in the organ loft of a church, Tissot experienced a religious revelation. He portrayed it in The Ruins (Inner Voices) and decided he would dedicate the rest of his life to illustrating of the Bible.

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The Ruins (Inner Voices), 1885, by James Tissot.  Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Wikiart)

Tissot traveled to the Middle East to research his illustrated Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ between October 1886 and March 1887, visiting sites in Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria. To make his work as authentic and realistic as possible, he made drawings, notes and photographs of the architecture, topography, and historical costumes, and he sought local models for the main figures.

While Tissot (and his surrogates) created the myth that he devoted the remainder of his life solely to this ambitious religious project, he was able to publicize it, and his spiritual goals, while quietly leading a life among the upper echelon of Parisian Society. He executed about forty portraits of aristocratic French women and other beautiful, wealthy women in sumptuous Belle Époque settings from the mid-1880s to the early 1890s, most often using pastels, as in Portrait of Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will (c. 1883 – 1885); the wife of an immensely wealthy banker, she would go on to write several books on the occult under the pseudonym Charles d’Orino.

Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will, James-Jacques-Joseph Tis

Portrait of Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will (c. 1883 – 1885), by James Tissot. Pastel on linen. Private collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

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A view of the Château de Buillon (Wikimedia)

And Tissot saw to it that his career was progressing in other areas. In 1886, he exhibited his Women of Paris series at Arthur Tooth and Sons, London as Pictures of Parisian Life by J.J. Tissot, and he exhibited with the Société d’aquarellistes français in Paris; in 1887, he exhibited at least one painting, Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern (1874), at Nottingham Castle and at Newcastle-on-Tyne; and in 1888, he exhibited three works at the International Exhibition, Glasgow.

His father died in 1888, leaving him the Château de Buillon, near Besançon in eastern France, that he had purchased in 1845. During Tissot’s remaining years, he lived partly in his eclectically-furnished villa in Paris and partly at the imposing Château, enlarging it and embellishing the extensive grounds.

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Portrait of the Pilgrim (1894), by James Tissot.  (Wiki)

In 1889, Tissot made a second trip to the Middle East to conduct further research for his Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

He continued to show his work widely; in 1889, he exhibited his Prodigal Son series, for which he won a gold medal, and an oil portrait at the Exhibition Universelle, Paris. In 1893, he exhibited his Prodigal Son series again, along with a pastel portrait, in the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Then, at the Paris Salon of 1894, Tissot exhibited 270 of the ultimate total of 365 drawings for La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (The Life of Christ). The pictures were given a gallery and a special catalogue. The public reaction was astonishing: one headline read, “THE CHAMP DE MARS SALON; JAMES TISSOT’S LIFE OF CHRIST A MARVELOUS SERIES. Women Weep as They Pass from Picture to Picture.”

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The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ (La nativité de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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Jesus Teaches the People by the Sea (Jésus enseigne le peuple près de la mer, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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The Nail for the Feet (Le clou des pieds, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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Jesus Ministered to by Angels (Jésus assisté par les anges), 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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Edmond de Goncourt (1882), by Felix Bracquemond (Wiki)

Tissot’s achievement was the talk of Paris; at a dinner party on May 6, 1894 given by Tissot’s longtime friends Alphonse and Julia Daudet, celebrated writer Émile Zola said he was “captivated” by Tissot’s Bible illustrations, but Daudet had to vociferously defend them to realist painter Jean-François Raffaëlli, who thought them “revolting.”

French writer and art and literary critic Edmond de Goncourt recorded it all, simultaneously impressed by Tissot’s success and critical of what he saw as a “medicore” effort to depict the supernatural.

[Goncourt seemed always ambivalent about Tissot, disparaging his successful career in England in an 1874 journal entry terming Tissot an “ingenious exploiter of English idiocy,” but nevertheless had Tissot illustrate the novel he wrote with his brother, Renée Mauperin, published in 1884, with the main character modeled by Kathleen Newton.]

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Portrait of Marie Joseph Robert Anatole, Comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac. Arrangement in Black and Gold (1891/92), by James McNeill Whistler. (Wiki)

And my new research finds that on May 30, 1894 Tissot was among the guests at the extravagant garden party given by poet, bibliophile and Society taste-maker Robert, Comte de Montesquiou. The highbrow “fête littéraire” was in celebration of his 458 million franc restoration of an eighteenth-century pavilion in Versailles, half a mile from the palace. The event featured an entire orchestra playing from a garden grove, and Sarah Bernhardt was one of the three stars of the Parisian stage who performed for the aristocrats and luminaries under the canvas roof of a rococo theater built in the center of the garden, surrounded by blue hydrangeas. During a brief intermission, guests could amble into Montesquiou’s Japanese greenhouse, filled with chrysanthemums, potted bonsai, and rare plants and birds.

Princes and princesses, counts and countesses – almost all of the gratin, or upper crust, turned out, including a few of the club members who commissioned Tissot to portray them in his 1868 group portrait, The Circle of the Rue Royale, Comte Étienne de Ganay (1833-1903) and Marquis Alfred du Lau d’Allemans (1833-1919). Tissot was socializing among the most exclusive Belle Époque Society.

Other illustrious guests included the glamorous 33-year-old, Worth-gowned Élisabeth, the Comtesse Greffulhe, who helped establish the art of American-born painter James Whistler and actively promoted artists including French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau, sculptor Auguste Rodin, and Parisian Society portraitist Antonio de la Gándara.

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La comtesse Greffulhe, 1895, by Paul Nadar. (Wiki)

The Comtesse Greffulhe and the host, her uncle, were among the eccentrics who served as inspiration for characters in Marcel Proust’s seven-volume novel, In Search of Lost Time (1913–1927). Proust, then an unknown university student invited only to write about the party, described it all in detail in Le Gaulois the next day, using the pseudonym “Tout-Paris.” He likened it to a dream, “where, for a few hours, we believed we were living in the days of Louis XIV!”

Tissot knew and was on friendly terms with many of the famous guests, including Gándara, Paris-based Italian painter Giovanni Boldini, and painter Paul Helleu, who was introduced to Tissot in London by Jacques-Emile Blanche in 1885.

Tissot’s good friend, writer Julia Daudet, was there. At some time during 1885, she had arranged a match between Tissot and Louise Riesener, (1860 – 1944), the granddaughter of portrait painter Henri Riesener (1767 – 1828), and a daughter of the painter Léon Riesener (1808-1878). The 25-year-old Louise, whom Tissot depicted as The Sphinx (Woman in an Interior) in his La Femme à Paris series, broke the engagement to the 49-year-old Tissot after seeing him at an unflattering angle in a foyer.

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James Tissot, 1898

Also present at the party was author and journalist Aurélien Scholl (1833 – 1902), who in the months either before or after this engagement was pursuing, along with Tissot, a curvaceous circus performer depicted in a form-fitting costume and pink tights in another painting from La Femme à Paris, L’Acrobate (The Tightrope Dancer, 1883-85).

But these romances were long over. In 1895, Tissot exhibited the complete series of 365 Life of Christ illustrations in Paris, making arrangements for their publication. At about the same time, he was busy working as a Society portraitist. Tissot’s pastel portrait, Portrait of a Young Woman in a Conservatory, was completed in 1895, and two other pastels, Comtesse d’Yanville and Her Four Children and The Princesse de Broglie, date from about that year.

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The Princesse de Broglie (c. 1895), by James Tissot. Pastel on linen. Private collection. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

The Princess de Broglie, née Louise Marie Madeleine Leboeuf de Montgermont (1869-1929), was the daughter of a diplomat and the granddaughter of the owner of the Creil-Montereau faience factory and regent of the Banque de France. In 1886, she bought the Hôtel de Castries, a Paris mansion built in the late seventeenth century, and in 1890, she married Prince Louis Antoine de Broglie-Revel (1862-1958) at the neo-Gothic Basilica of Saint Clotilde in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. In Tissot’s portrait, she was still in her twenties, mother to two of the five children she would bear. The Princesse de Broglie, and perhaps Tissot’s other sitters, attended the Comte de Montesquiou’s garden party in 1894, certainly an excellent business opportunity for Tissot.

Montesquiou,_Robert_de_-_Boldini

Robert de Montesquiou (1896), by Giovanni Boldini (Wiki)

Montesquiou was a snob with a venomous tongue, but he and Tissot were friends and fellow collectors, sharing an interest in japonisme and the fashion for spiritualism and séances.

On December 15, 1895, a glowing, even fawning, nine-page review on Tissot’s Life of Christ illustrations appeared in the glossy magazine Revue Illustré – written by the Comte de Montesquiou, a contributor to numerous periodicals from June 1894 to February 1900.

Montesquiou noted, “We owe it to the kindness of MM. Mame, the publishers of the marvelous work, La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, the good fortune of reproducing here some of the most beautiful of Tissot’s compositions.” In fact, the good fortune was Tissot’s – after ten years of labor, albeit amid the splendid distractions of the Belle Époque, he had arranged with the firm Mame et fils, of Tours, to publish the pictures in 1896-97, and the reproduction rights of their two editions would make him far wealthier than he had ever been.

Related posts:

Belle Époque Portraits in Pastel by James Tissot

Tissot’s Romances

The Company He Kept: James Tissot’s Friends

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

Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series

© 2019 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. 

CH377762

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.

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.