Category Archives: Art History

James Tissot’s Animals

Did James Tissot paint animals because they appealed to Victorian sensibilities, because they were part of the life around him that he recorded so faithfully, or because they enhanced his subjects with symbolic meaning?

Numerous artists of Tissot’s time achieved great success as animaliers – animal painters – including Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA (1802 – 1873), Rosa Bonheur (1822 – 1899), Briton Rivière RA (1840 – 1920), and Charles Burton Barber (1845–1894). Landseer, also a notable sculptor who created the lions at Trafalgar Square, was popular with the aristocracy as well as the middle class, whose homes often featured reproductions of his works, which often sentimentalized dogs. Bonheur, a French artist popular in England, was known for her realistic depiction of animals, especially cattle. Rivière focused on animal subjects from the mid-1860s, and he grew famous as his animal paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy often were engraved. Barber, famous for his sentimental paintings of children and their pets, especially dogs, received commissions from Queen Victoria to paint her grandchildren and dogs.

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Around 1868, Tissot’s Un déjeuner (A Luncheon), set in the French Directoire period (1795 to 1799), featured a small, furry white lap dog with floppy ears – perhaps a flirtatious companion in this scene of seduction.

queen victoria with pug, 172544_originalWhen the British invaded and looted the Chinese Imperial Palace in 1860 during the Second Opium War, they brought pug dogs back to England, where they were first exhibited in 1861.

The ancient breed treasured by Chinese emperors was highly fashionable in Europe up through the eighteenth century; now Queen Victoria owned and bred pugs. The dogs became popular and often were depicted in paintings, greeting cards, and postcards of the time.

The Queen’s pugs were painted by Scottish artist Gourlay Steell RSA (1819 – 1894) around 1867.

Anglophilia was fashionable in France at the time, and Tissot, painting in Paris while well aware of trends in England, began to include pugs in a series of paintings set in the Directoire: Fig. a, La Cheminée (By the Fireside, c. 1869); Fig. b, Unaccepted (1869); Fig. c, Jeune femme en bateau (Young Woman in a Boat, 1870); Fig. d, La partie carrée (The Foursome, 1870); and Fig. e, Un souper sous le Directoire (c. 1870). [See James Tissot’s Directoire series, 1868-71.]

a tissot_james_jacques_the_fireplace (2)     b unaccepted (2)     c james_tissot_-_young_lady_in_a_boat (2)

d 940px-james_tissot_-_la_partie_carrée (2)     e un souper sous le directoire (2)

Since Tissot’s compositions featuring pugs were painted shortly after the breed was rediscovered, and since they became the only dog breed he featured in this series, it is likely he included them to boost sales as well as to add a lively detail.

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Tama the Japanese Dog (c. 1875), by Edouard Manet. (www.the-athenaeum.org)

Shortly after the fad for pugs began in England, the retired first British Minister to Japan, Sir Rutherford Alcock (1809 – 1897) made a sensation showing his collection of exotic treasures at his Japanese Pavilion at the 1862 London International Exhibition, beginning another trend that turned Tissot’s artistic (and business) inspiration away from pugs. After the signing of the first commercial treaty between Japan and America in 1854, more than 200 years of Japanese seclusion had come to an end. In the French capitol, a host of import shops cropped up to cater to the new craze for “japonisme,” and by November, 1864, when the famed Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti tried to buy Japanese items in Paris, he “found all the costumes were being snapped up by a French artist, Tissot, who it seems is doing three Japanese pictures.” These were three similar paintings featuring elegant young women looking at Japanese objects; French painter Berthe Morisot, after visiting the Paris Salon in 1869, wrote to her sister, “The Tissots seem to have become quite Chinese this year.” Tissot brilliantly used the chic “Oriental” studio in his new English-style villa in the rue de l’Impératrice (now avenue Foch) as a showcase to display his impressive collection of Japanese and Chinese art and artifacts, attracting princes and princesses – and commissions.

Focused on this new trend, Tissot ceased attracting buyers by adding the pug dog to his compositions, with the exception of Waiting (c. 1873, also known as In the Shallows), painted within two years of his emigration to England in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune. A few years later, Tissot’s friend Edouard Manet combined the interest in dogs and japonisme in Tama the Japanese Dog (c. 1875), above, one of a few dog portraits he produced.

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Waiting (In the Shallows, c. 1873), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Photo: Wiki)

In a different vein, Tissot painted companion dogs in portraits of their aristocratic owners in France and England, and he rendered them with great skill and sensitivity.

james_tissot_-_portrait_of_the_marquis_and_marchioness_of_miramon_and_their_children_-_google_art_project

richard_peers_symons,_m.p._(later_baronet)_by_joshua_reynolds,_1770-71

Richard Peers Symons, MP (1770-71), by Joshua Reynolds (Photo:  Wiki)

By 1865, Tissot had found an entrée to patrons in the French aristocracy and was commissioned to paint The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their children [René de Cassagne de Beaufort, Marquis de Miramon (1835-1882), his wife, née Thérèse Feuillant (1836-1912), and their first two children, Geneviève and Léon on the terrace of the château de Paulhac in Auvergne]. Tissot depicted them outdoors, as an informal, affectionate family in the English-style elegance of a Thomas Gainsborough (1727 – 1788) or a Joshua Reynolds portrait (1723 – 1792). In this painting, which served as Tissot’s calling card to the lucrative market for Society portraiture, he prominently features the Miramon’s large and regal black dog, a retriever or perhaps pointer mix that may have been the Marquis’ favorite hunting dog as well as a beloved family pet. An oil study for the painting shows that Tissot relocated the dog from what initially was conceived as a central position with Léon to a more natural pose at Léon’s feet; Tissot used the dog, in the end, to enliven the central spot at the bottom of the canvas. In a decision that finally unifies the subjects in a pleasing composition, Tissot changed the Marquis’ pose so that his crossed legs lead the eye down his long black boots to the strong black diagonal of the reclining dog. Tissot put as much thought into the dog’s placement in the painting as the human subjects, indicating its importance in the commission.

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Three years later, in a group portrait of the members of The Circle of the Rue Royale (1868), Tissot featured a Dalmatian that clearly was important to at least one of the aristocrats who contributed toward the commission. Again, the dog is featured in the center of the composition, where its spotted coat enlivens the expanse of checkerboard marble tile and echos the colors of the stylish black and white hounds tooth trousers of Count Julien de Rochechouart, seated with a cigarette in his right hand. With its handsome profile and long body with outstretched paws, the Dalmatian has as much presence and poise as the twelve men in another composition emulating English-style portraiture of aristocrats and their dogs.

Oxford PortraitsAfter emigrating to England with less than one hundred francs but with numerous British friends, Tissot received considerable help in establishing his career anew in London. Frances, Countess Waldegrave (1821-1879), who shared Tissot’s interest in spiritualism, hosted fabulous salons in London and at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham. Frequent guests included Gladstone, Disraeli, and the Prince and Princess of Wales. In 1871 – shortly after Tissot had fled the Bloody Week in Paris – the charming and “irresistible” Countess Waldegrave pulled strings to get Tissot a lucrative commission to paint a full-length portrait of her fourth husband, Chichester Fortescue (right). It was funded by a group of eighty-one Irishmen including forty-nine MPs, five Roman Catholic bishops and twenty-seven peers to commemorate his term as Chief Secretary for Ireland under Gladstone – as a present to his wife. Fortescue, later Baron Carlingford (1823 – 1898) was a politically ambitious Irishman and Liberal MP for County Louth from 1847 to 1868. In 1863, he married the politically influential Countess Waldegrave, previously the wife of the 7th Earl Waldegrave, who had chosen him out of the three or more men who wished to marry her. Fortescue had been in love with her for a decade before her elderly third husband died. Tissot may have included the perky white terrier-type dog at his feet as a way of humanizing a quiet, bookish man described as “pedantic” but capable of great love.

(c) St Edmundsbury Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Tissot also received a commission from his great friend, Tommy Bowles (Thomas Gibson Bowles, 1841 – 1922), who lived at Cleeve Lodge in Hyde Park. [To read more about their friendship, click here and here.]  Tommy Bowles was the illegitimate son of Thomas Milner Gibson (1806 – 1884), a Liberal MP for Manchester and President of the Board of Trade from 1859 to 1866, and Susannah Bowles, a servant. Tommy was an adorable little boy, and his stepmother, Arethusa Susannah (1814 – 1885), a Society hostess who was the only child of Sir Thomas Gery Cullum (1777 –1855) of Hardwick House, Suffolk, insisted that he be raised with his father’s family of four sons and two daughters. Tommy’s favorite half-sister was Sydney Milner-Gibson, nearly eight years younger, and in 1871, when Sydney was 22, he commissioned Tissot to paint her portrait. Tissot captured the sweet, reticent personality and awkwardness of his friend’s beloved younger sister, who posed caressing her medium-sized black dog. The presence of her pet, which somewhat resembles a German Spitz, may have made her more comfortable, but it also fills the space created by the way she sits across the chair. Had she stood, with the dog at her feet, the composition would have been much less interesting.

f   fidelity-1869(1).jpg!large      g blonde and brunette, 1879

John Everett Millais: The Black Brunswicker.The Victorians set great store by animals, and dogs especially exemplified loyalty and the affection and comfort of domestic life. In J.E Millais’ The Black Brunswicker (1860), left, the dog sweetly joins the woman in begging the soldier not to depart for battle.

The central figure in Briton Rivière’s Fidelity (1869), Fig. f, is impoverished, incarcerated, injured and abandoned by all – except for his dog.

In Charles Burton Barber’s Blond and Brunette (1879), Fig. g, the affectionate pug and the pretty woman make an adorable duo.

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, innumerable such paintings were produced throughout the Western world playing to the emotional appeal of canine companions.

h 333px-james_tissot_-_croquet    i the-croquet-party

james_tissot_-_a_fete_day_at_brightonBut James Tissot’s depictions of dogs had more in common with those of his friends in Paris than with those in sentimental Victorian paintings.

For instance, Tissot’s use of the white dog in Croquet (c. 1878), Fig. h, is more comparable to Edouard Manet’s inclusion of two small dogs in The Croquet Party (1871), Fig. i: the dogs simply are present, though they add motion and visual interest to the scene of human leisure activity.

The same is true of Tissot’s Fête Day in Brighton (c. 1875-78), right, in which the dog trotting ahead of the woman and the flags waving behind her add a sense of movement to her otherwise still figure, and a sense of depth to the picture.

Tissot’s own border collie, which he painted in The Hammock (1879) (see below) and Quiet (c. 1881), Fig. j – reflect the artist’s realistic depiction of the scene. Akin to In Deep Thought (1881), Fig. k, by Alfred Stevens, Tissot’s friend in Paris, the dog mirrors the psychological state of the subject.

quiet, c. 1881    k in deep thought, alfred stevens

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going to the cityWhile dogs had symbolic meaning in art, James Tissot, a shrewd businessman, likely included dogs in many of his compositions because they appealed to Victorian sensibilities and because they were part of the life around him that he recorded so faithfully.

This is how Tissot painted other animals: not as fascinating creatures in their own right, as Edgar Degas painted racehorses, but in service to the people who were the subjects of his compositions: the horses in Les Adieux (The Farewells) 1871and The Shop Girl (c. 1883-85) merely wait while their owners go about their business, and the horse in Going to Business (Going to the City, c. 1879), like the donkeys in The Morning Ride (1872-1876), and even (despite its title) the heron in On the Thames, A Heron (c. 1871-72), is providing the action in the scene without being its subject.

Tissot’s animals exist only in relation to the human psychology and activity that were the focus of his work.

©  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 post:

Tissot’s Tiger Skin: A Prominent Prop

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/B009P5RYV

 

 

 

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James Tissot and Two Ladies of Leisure

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.

James Tissot characteristically painted beautiful, well-dressed women either in languorous poses or in scenes of psychological tension.  But just as often, he depicted contemporary women passing the day in leisure.  These women simply exist in loveliness.  And two art auctions, one this summer and one a half-dozen years ago, highlighted how two of Tissot’s women were perfectly matched with private collectors who themselves were ladies of leisure – a Vanderbilt of the Gilded Age, and a European aristocrat of our own time – living along New York’s exclusive Fifth Avenue.

At the Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art sale at Sotheby’s, London in July, 2018, James Tissot’s Le goûter (The Snack, 1869) sold to a private collector for £ 187,500 GBP.  Set in Tissot’s opulent Parisian villa in the rue de l’impératrice (Empress Avenue, now avenue Foch), it depicts an elegantly-dressed woman caught reviving herself with a sip of wine and a bit of fruit.  The model is wearing the same costume as the woman in In Church (1865-1869); as if she has just returned from a promenade, she has removed her bonnet and set it at the edge of the table.

Le Gouter

Le goûter (The Snack, 1869), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 21.5 by 14.25 in. 
(54 by 36 cm).  Private collection. (Courtesy of the-atheneaum.org)

800px-660_5th_Avenue_New_York_CityThe 1874 catalogue records  for Goupil’s art gallery in Paris include this painting as Le goûter (Afternoon tea).  By 1883, Le goûter was in the collection of William H. Vanderbilt (1821 – 1885), who lived in a mansion at 660 Fifth Avenue, New York, that his wife, Alva, commissioned in 1878 from Richard Morris Hunt after William inherited the bulk of his father’s $100 million estate in 1877.  Built in a French Renaissance and Gothic style, the mansion was referred to as the Petit Château, and its grand interiors were furnished from trips to Europe, with items from antique shops and from “pillaging the ancient homes of impoverished nobility.”

Le goûter was passed to William’s youngest son, art collector George W. Vanderbilt (1862 – 1914), whose New York residence comprised two identical, five-story white marble mansions at 645 and 647 Fifth Avenue, between E. 51st and E. 52nd Streets, designed by Hunt & Hunt in 1905 as a “free interpretation of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century palazzi.”

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Cornelius “Neily” III Vanderbilt (Wiki)

George W. Vanderbilt left this residence to his nephew, Cornelius “Neily” III Vanderbilt (1873 – 1942), who had been disinherited by his father in 1896 for becoming engaged to Grace Graham Wilson (1870 – 1953), the daughter of a New York banker [upon his father’s death in 1899, he received only $500,000 in cash and the income

from a $1 million trust fund].

Grace, a popular member of the smart international set of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), was considered an “adventuress.”  Less than thrilled to inherit an old mansion which she referred to as “The Black Hole of Calcutta,” Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt hired architect Horace Trombauer to make improvements, and she filled the house with 18th century French furniture and tapestries.  In 1917, ready to establish residence, she hired a staff of 30 including an English butler and six footman liveried in the Vanderbilt maroon.

Cornelius, who prior to his marriage had earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Yale, had joined the New York National Guard in 1901.  In 1916, he was mobilized and served in an engineering regiment that was shipped to France in mid-1918.  Shortly after his arrival there, he was promoted to brigadier general.

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Grace Graham Wilson Vanderbilt

After the war, he preferred life on his yacht to life with his wife, who entertained endlessly and lavishly in their New York mansion.  But by 1940, with taxes almost $60,000 a year on the house, Neily Vanderbilt sold it to Lord John Jacob Astor V (later 1st Baron Astor of Hever, 1886 – 1971), with the provision that his wife could live there until three years after his death.  He died in 1942, and in 1944, Grace Vanderbilt moved up Fifth Avenue to a house at 86th Street which is now the Neue Galerie.  Le goûter was in her possession from 1945, when the marble mansion at 645 Fifth Avenue was demolished.  (Its twin mansion at 647 has been Versace’s flagship store since 1995.)

Later with Stair-Sainty Fine Art, New York, Tissot’s Le goûter offered for sale by an anonymous owner at Sotheby’s, New York, in 1982.  It was sold at the same auction house in 1987, again anonymously, to a private U.S. collector for $ 95,000 USD/£ 56,581 GBP (Hammer price).  In 2010, the painting was offered for sale at Christie’s, New York with an estimated price of $ 300,000 – 500,000 USD, but it did not find a buyer until eight years later.

Less familiar than other paintings by Tissot, Le goûter has been exhibited only twice:  when it was on loan to The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1902 to 1907, and when it was included in the exhibition James Tissot at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, in 1984.

Morning Ride

The Morning Ride (1872-1876), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 26.26 by 38.35 in. (66.70 by 97.40 cm). Private collection. (the-athenaeum.org)

The Morning Ride (c. 1872-1876), another of James Tissot’s lesser-known paintings, was purchased at the 19th Century European Art sale at Sotheby’s, New York in 2012 for $1,874,500 USD/£ 1,160,681 GBP (Premium).  It depicts a pallid woman of means, a convalescent or perhaps an invalid, being drawn in a donkey cart through a path bordered by multi-colored banks of rhododendrons in full bloom.  Her ruddy-faced male companion, well dressed and sporting knee breeches, pauses in a casual and familiar manner to let her caress the blossoms.  Her maid rides side-saddle on a donkey behind them.  Tissot conveys the spring chill by the gloves they wear and the lady’s fur-trimmed coat and lap blanket.

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Monique Uzielli

By about 1898, the painting was with the Thomas McLean gallery, London.  Decades later, it was owned by Hugo Hanak, a Czechoslovakian collector, who sold it at Parke Bernet, New York in 1944.  It was acquired there by art historian and antiques dealer Jacques Helft (1891 – 1980), brother-in-law of art dealer Paul Rosenberg (1881 – 1959).  Around 1955-56, The Morning Ride was with the Weitzner Gallery, New York, and about 1960, it was acquired by European aristocrat and noted collector Mrs. Monique Uzielli (née de Günzburg, 1913 – 2011), New York.  Mrs. Uzielli was the great-granddaughter of Joseph, Baron Günzburg (1812 – 1878), a Jewish philanthropist, banker, and financier who helped fund the development of Russia’s railroad network.

In 1959, Mrs. Uzielli had purchased a Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment at East 92nd Street, featuring fabulous, 360-degree views over the city and Central Park with 4,780 square feet of terrace space; originally it was the top floor of the 14-story home of cereal heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post.  Mrs. Uzielli’s tastes as a collector ranged from early Southeast Asian sculpture to European art to the 1960s couture gowns she gave to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mrs. Uzielli occasionally loaned The Morning Ride to The Metropolitan Museum of Art for exhibitions from 1975 to 1993.  She died in Montreux, Switzerland in October 2011, and by January, 2012, her 1925 penthouse was put on the market for $29,500,000 [and sold for $30.9 million in 2014].  Her Tissot painting was sold to a private collector at the beginning of May.

Will the new owners of Le goûter and The Morning Ride share them with the public now and then – especially with the James Tissot retrospective in Paris and San Francisco approaching in 2019-2020?

Related posts:

James Tissot’s brilliant marketing tool, 1869

James Tissot oils at auction: Seven favorites

Kathleen Newton by James Tissot: eight auctioned oil paintings

James Tissot’s Church Ladies

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

 

© 2018 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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

For further reading:

A guide to the gilded age mansions of 5th Avenue’s millionaire row, by Michelle Young, August 22, 2017.

The two Mrs. Vanderbilts, by David Patrick Columbia and Jeffrey Hirsch, December 31, 2007.

The Vanderbilts: How American Royalty Lost Their Crown Jewels, by Natalie Robehmed, July 14, 2014.

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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.

James Tissot’s Brushwork

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James Tissot was an individualist whose style and brushwork was neither entirely Academic, according to his training, nor always fashionable, though some of his oil paintings feature looser, more Impressionistic brush strokes.  Though he did not establish trends, he absorbed them into his repertoire and transmuted them into a virtuoso formula all his own.

Tissot, who left his parents’ home in Nantes and moved to Paris in 1856, enrolled at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in March, 1857.  He was 20 years old, and his classes would have included mathematics, anatomy and drawing, but not painting.  He studied painting independently under Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809 – 1864) and Louis Lamothe (1822 – 1869), both of whom had been students of the great Neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) and taught his principles.  [See On his own: Tissot as a Paris art student, 1855 — 1858.]

He made his début at the Paris Salon in 1859, and hit his stride as an artist by the Salon of 1864, with The Two Sisters and Portrait of Mademoiselle L.L.  In his self-portrait the following year – nine years before his friends joined together to exhibit paintings in a style that would be called “Impressionism” – which was not displayed in public, Tissot delineated his features and clothing in ultra-modern, swift, painterly brush strokes against a minimalist, sketchy background.

But when he received private commissions for portraits of French aristocrats during the Second Empire, he combined his mastery of high finish with his consummate confidence in making his most adroit brush strokes visible.

Marquise de Miramon, Getty Open Content (2)

One of the foremost examples of Tissot’s remarkable brushwork is the ruffled edging of the pink peignoir in Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866).

The ruffles, which appear so precise, are graceful, curling strokes of a loaded, round brush.  The folds of the silk velvet dressing gown are thick broad swathes of color, underscored by a right-to-left flutter of white that creates the petticoat peeking underneath.  Zoom in on all the luscious detail here.

Marquise de Miramon, Getty Open Content

Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, unframed: 50 1/2 by 30 3/8 in. (128.3 by 77.2 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

de fontenay, by Tissot (2)In Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1867), a series of a half-dozen thick white curves defines the convex glass cover of the clock’s face.  Rather brilliantly, they are flanked by white in the background and in the foreground – on the left, the lightly-suggested white, back-lit curtains dressing the window reflected in the mirror over the mantel, and on the right, the bold white of shapes of Fontenay’s collar and waistcoat.  Using his brush to apply white paint in different ways, Tissot has defined three-dimensional space on his canvas.

de fontenay, by Tissot

Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1867), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 27 by 15 in. (68.58 by 38.10 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Photo:  Wiki)

James_Tissot_-_Captain_Frederick_Gustavus_Burnaby (2)The perfectly placed dry brush strokes that Tissot used to define the volume of Gus Burnaby’s black leather boots and give them their astonishing gleam in Captain Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1870) are riveting when viewed at close range.

This painstakingly-detailed portrait was another private commission, this time from a friend in London, his home from mid-1871 to late 1882.

James_Tissot_-_Captain_Frederick_Gustavus_Burnaby

Captain Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1870), by James Tissot. 19.5 by 23.5 in. (49.5 by 59.7 cm). National Portrait Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Autumn on the Thames, the-ath (2)

The seated woman’s flowing hair in Autumn on the Thames (1875) is one of the most enchanting details in Tissot’s work.  With the lightest of touches from his brush, he has made us feel the river breeze as it ripples through her ethereal locks.

Though the figures are highly finished and the palette is that of an Academician, note the looser style in which Tissot painted the water, grass and background landscape.

This picture was not exhibited in public.

Autumn on the Thames, the-ath

Autumn on the Thames, Nuneham Courtney, by James Tissot. 29 by 19 in. (73.66 by 48.26 cm).   Private Collection.  (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

More in the style of his friends in Paris were two other paintings that Tissot did not exhibit, On the Thames, A Heron (c. 1871-72) [figure a] and The Fan (c. 1875) [figure b].  While the figures and their costumes are completed to a high finish and both are painted in a studio rather than en plein air, the landscape backgrounds are rendered in brisk, suggestive strokes, and there is a new sense of movement.  Click here to zoom in on Tissot’s brushwork in On the Thames, A Heron, and pay particular attention to the rippling water and the heron; also see A Closer Look at Tissot’s “The Fan”.

James_Tissot_-_On_the_Thames,_A_Heron_-_Google_Art_Project  b The Fan

Tissot remained, at heart, a painter in the Academic tradition; he was not an Impressionist, concerned with the shifting effect of natural light, vivid colors, and capturing the fleeting experiences of contemporary life as they did.  The Japanese influence in these two paintings is what makes them contemporary.  But as a Frenchman who had emigrated to England after the bloody Paris Commune [see Paris, June 1871], he hardly could have entered canvases painted in “the modern French style” to the annual exhibitions of the Royal Academy.

The Bunch of Lilacs (c. 1875), one of two paintings he exhibited at the Royal Academy that year, was more conservative.  Tissot conjures the reflection of a dense array of vegetation and Oriental accessories on a foreshortened grid of decorative tile.  His sure brush creates the ultimate polished floor as a stage for this carefree bird of paradise.

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The Bunch of Lilacs (c. 1875), by James Tissot. 21 by 15 in. (53.34 by 38.10 cm).  Private Collection.  Image courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” by Lucy Paquette © 2012

Hush! (The Concert, 1875), the second picture Tissot exhibited at the Royal Academy that year, also was highly finished.  Note how he painted the chandelier’s multitude of glittering, highly-defined crystal pendants quite differently when reflected in the mirror.

Hush - The Concert (2)

Hush - The Concert

Hush! (The Concert, 1875), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas; 29.02 by 44.17 in. (73.7 by 112.2 cm). Manchester Art Gallery, U.K. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

James_Tissot_-_Holyday (2)

Holyday (c. 1876) was one of several paintings Tissot exhibited in 1877 at the exclusive, innovative new Grosvenor Gallery, for which he eschewed his regular showings at the Royal Academy.

Tissot turned the dark shape of the pond into shining water by deft white strokes (as well as floating lily pads) defining the surface, and reflections of the man, woman, tree and cast-iron columns in the background implying its depth.  This treatment of the water, as well as the background of the picture space, is far more finished than that in Autumn on the Thames.  At the same time, Tissot now was, or was giving the impression of, painting en plein air.

James_Tissot_-_Holyday (1)

Holyday (c. 1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 30 by 39 1/8 in. (76.5 by 99.5 cm). Tate Britain.  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Gallery of HMS Calcutta, the-ath (3)Gallery of HMS Calcutta, the-ath (2)Tissot was masterful in his ability to paint the sheer fabrics of women’s attire.  The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (1877) was one of Tissot’s exhibits at the new Grosvenor Gallery.  In his review of this picture, the critic for The Spectator commented, “We would direct our readers’ attention to the painting of the flesh seen through the thin white muslin dresses, in this picture; manual dexterity could hardly achieve a greater triumph.”  Regardless of Tissot’s skill with the brush, that compliment followed the acerbic observation, “That the ladies are ‘Parisienne,’ dressed in the height of the prevailing fashion, goes without saying, for M. Tissot, though he paints in England, has a thorough Parisian’s contempt for English dress and beauty, and the only time he attempted to paint English girls (in his picture of the ball-room at the Academy [i.e. Too Early, 1873]), he made them all hideous alike.”  [See A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Too Early”.]

Gallery of HMS Calcutta, the-ath

The Gallery of the HMS Calcutta (Portsmouth), c. 1876, by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 27 by 36 1/8 in. (68.5 by 92 cm). Tate, London. (Photo: the-athenaeum.org)

James_Tissot_-_The_Ball (2)In Evening (Le Bal, 1878), the cascade of layered ruffles is a tour de force of Tissot’s ability to define precise, minute folds of fabric, shaded and highlighted and juxtaposed with contrasting trim in related hues.  His lively brushwork lets us feel the volume, weight, and movement of that train.

When Tissot exhibited this painting at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1878, the reviewer for The Illustrated London News was only begrudgingly moved:  “’Evening,’ which may be termed at once an ‘arrangement in yellow’ and a glorified excerpt from a Book of the Fashions, [is] brimful of verve, elegance and manual dexterity…Society, we conceive, ought to be very much obliged to so deft an expositor.”

James_Tissot_-_The_Ball

Le Bal/Evening (1878), by James Tissot. 35 7/16 by 19 11/16 in. (90 by 50 cm). Musée d’Orsay.  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

A_Winter_s_Walk_(Promenade_dans_la_neige)_by_James-Jacques-Joseph_Tissot (2)

The highly accomplished French painter succeeding wildly in London despite the British critics carried on, experimenting with brush techniques while staying true to his Academic background.

In A Winter’s Walk (1878), Tissot painted the fur and the foliage in quick, overlapping strokes of varied hues, dragging out the color of the fur with a stiff, dry brush to indicate its soft texture while blurring the edges of the greenery to indicate its rough texture and its distance in the background.  He rendered the rich, heavy dress fabric by laying on tints and shades of color with a broad brush, and he enlivened the sober palette with a flash of gold in the captivating detail of Kathleen Newton’s pair of gold bracelets.  Tissot’s painterly glint on the smooth bangle and expertly-applied highlights on the rope cuff make this jewelry an exquisite focal point of her costume, all the more solid with the juxtaposition of the sketchily outlined, diaphanous trim peeking from her sleeve.

This picture was not exhibited in public.

A_Winter_s_Walk_(Promenade_dans_la_neige)_by_James-Jacques-Joseph_Tissot

A Winter’s Walk (Promenade dans la neige) (c. 1878), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 31.10 by 14.57 in. (79.00 by 37 cm).  Private Collection.  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

A Type of Beauty (2)

In A Type of Beauty (1880), Kathleen Newton’s black lace mitts are delicately painted over her flesh with a small brush.  The curves of the rope cuff bracelets, flecked with gold highlights, and the further curves of two layers of wispy white ruffles, keep the volume of her forearm from being flattened out by Tissot’s exacting depiction of the lace’s fine pattern.

But Mrs. Newton’s shining curls – just as fine – are loosely described using a soft brush that repeats the highlights of the gold bracelet.

The texture of the trim at her sleeve was created with a stiff, square brush whose bristles barely traced the white paint.

 

A Type of Beauty

A Type of Beauty (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1880), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 23 by 18 in. (58.42 by 45.72 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

james_tissot_-_photo_010-at-easel-in-40sJames Tissot excelled at accurate depictions and descriptive brushwork; he was not an innovator like his friends Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and James Whistler.  Though his style has been unfavorably compared to theirs over the decades, Degas once considered him far more skilled.  In 1868, Tissot left copious technical notes for Degas on how to improve one of his paintings-in-progress, Interior (The Rape), at Degas’ apparent request; clearly, this was the relationship they had.  Tissot knew what he was doing, and some found his artistic confidence irritating:  one critic at this time observed that Tissot was dapper and personable, but thought him a little pretentious and a less-than-great artist “because he did what he wanted to do and as he wished to do it.”

And he was successful at it:  Tissot’s brushwork, in addition to his subject matter and composition, continues to delight and draw us into his paintings.  Who could ask for more?

Related posts:

James Tissot, the painter art critics love to hate

Tissot’s Brush with Impressionism

Tissot and Manet attempt to help their friend Degas, 1868

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

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

©  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. 

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/B009P5RYV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

james_tissot_-_portrait_of_the_marquis_and_marchioness_of_miramon_and_their_children_-_google_art_project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Tissot’s Medieval Paintings, 1858-67

James Tissot’s Faust series, 1860-65

James Tissot’s Directoire series, 1868-71

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

James Tissot’s Georgian Girls, c. 1872

Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series

Belle Époque Portraits in Pastel by James Tissot

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

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

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

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

Of my 152 posts, varying in length from about 500 to 4000 words, here are the Top Ten with the highest readership on my blog, as of October 12, 2018:

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

9         James Tissot’s brilliant marketing tool, 1869

8         James Tissot oils at auction: Seven favorites

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

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

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

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

3        Kathleen Newton by James Tissot: eight auctioned oil paintings

2        Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_1343The most recent retrospective of his work in North America, and the only one since the first in 1968 (in Rhode Island and Toronto), was James Tissot:  Victorian Life/Modern Love, an exhibition that began at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, in 1999, and then traveled to the Musée du Québec, Canada, and the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York. But a major retrospective of his work will be held in 2019 and 2020:  James Tissot, 1836-1902, co-organized by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to be invited to contribute some of the extensive new scholarship I have to offer on James Tissot’s life and work.

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

©  2018 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

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

Tea and Tissot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

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

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

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

nmwa184, Bad News-The Parting, Wales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_2163, Tea by Tissot, Met, copyright Rick Zuercher

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

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

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IMG_0174 (2)

IMG_0175

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DT1925, TEA, Tissot, Met Open Access image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Related posts:

Tissot in the U.S.:  New York

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

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

© 2018 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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

CH377762The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

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

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

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

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

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

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

 

John Atkinson Grimshaw and James Tissot

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

Whitby Harbor by Moonlight - John Atkinson Grimshaw

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

John Atkinson Grimshaw (Photo:  Wikipedia)

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

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

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

The Fan

The Fan (1875), by James Tissot.

Il Penseroso - John Atkinson Grimshaw

Il Penseroso (1875), by John Atkinson Grimshaw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

           

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

Young Women looking at Japanese articles (1869), by James Jacques Joseph Tissot. Oil on canvas, 70.5 x 50.2 cm. Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, USA; Gift of Henry M. Goodyear, M.D. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in

 

 

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

File:James Tissot - In an English Garden.jpg          

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

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

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

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

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

Related posts:

James Tissot and Alfred Stevens

What became of James Tissot and Alfred Stevens?

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

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

 

© 2018 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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

CH377762The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

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

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

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

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

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

James Tissot’s Modern Paintings in Victorian England

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

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

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

        File:James Tissot - Quiet.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      File:Tissot Garden Bench.jpg

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

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

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

         

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

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

       

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

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

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

        

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

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

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

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

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

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

Right:  Orphans (1879), by George Adolphus Storey

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©  2018 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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

Related posts:

The Stars of Victorian Painting: Auction Prices

Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot

The James Tissot Tour of Victorian England

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

James Tissot and the Pre-Raphaelites

James Tissot’s Model and Muse, Kathleen Newton

ICH377762f you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

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

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

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYV