Category Archives: Art History

James Tissot’s Prints

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “James Tissot’s Prints.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/james-tissots-prints/. <Date viewed.>

 

In 1860 and 1861, James Tissot experimented with etching, making a half-dozen plates as he participated in the etching revival in France, which began in the mid-nineteenth century with artists of the Barbizon School. Tissot’s early prints were based on subjects unrelated to his oil paintings, such as Portrait of a Woman (1860).

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Portrait of a Woman (1860), by James Tissot. Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Etching was declared “all the fashion” by Baudelaire in 1862, the year that Alphonse Legros, Félix Braquemond and the publisher Alfred Cadart formed the Société des Aquafortistes, which soon included James McNeill Whistler and his brother-in-law, Seymour Haden.

In 1865, two steel engravings after Tissot’s illustrations were included on the frontispiece and title page of Tom Taylor’s English translation of La Villemarque’s Barzaz-Breiz, Chants populaires de la Bretagne, which also featured several wood engravings in the text after J.E. Millais and others. Dante Gabriel Rossetti was so impressed by Tissot’s contributions that he requested a proof of each from the publisher.

Six years later, in 1871, Tissot’s drawings of figures from the Franco-Prussian War provided the basis for several wood engravings to illustrate his friend Thomas Gibson Bowles’ book, The Defence of Paris, Narrated As It Was Seen. Tissot emigrated to London after the Paris Commune that spring, and the following year, one of the paintings he exhibited at the Royal Academy, Les Adieux, was such a success that a steel engraving after the picture was subsequently published in London. In 1874, Tissot’s (How We Read the) News of our Marriage also was reproduced commercially as a steel engraving. Both of these engravings were displayed at the International Exhibition in London in 1874. The popularity of these prints and the lucrative market for reproductions of popular Academy pictures led Tissot to realize the financial potential in producing his own reproductive engravings.

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Second Frontispiece (Sitting on the Globe)/Deuxième frontispice (Assise sur le globe), 1875, by James Tissot. Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Tissot’s great friend, Whistler, produced A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and Other Subjects (The Thames Set), published in London by Ellis and Green in 1871 to high praise. Tissot resumed etching, developing his technique under the tutelage of Seymour Haden, in 1875, and that year created three Frontispieces, featuring symbolic female nudes, to publish in a portfolio of his drypoint prints, but he decided not to use them. When he issued Ten Etchings the following year, they included some based on his illustrations for Bowles’ book, The Defence of Paris.

Tissot published Ten Etchings himself from his home studio in Grove End Road – without a dealer, an uncommon practice for artists at the time. He rapidly perfected his technique. Quarrelling is the first of Tissot’s paintings known to be reproduced by him; Lovers’ Quarrel, the etching after the painting, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1876, along with an etching of The Thames.

James Tissot, HMS Calcutta, print, Cooper Hewitt

The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (1876), by James Tissot. Drypoint on off-white wove paper. Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York.

In 1876 and 1877, Tissot exhibited his prints in “L’exposition des ouvrages exécuté en noir et blanc,” Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris and “Exhibition of Works in Black and White,” Dudley Gallery, London. In 1878 and 1879, he exhibited his etchings alongside his oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery in London, among other venues.

Although Tissot kept a printing press in his studio, where he supervised the making of his prints (and retained the reproduction rights), he used a professional printer for larger editions.

James Tissot, At the Seashore, print, Cleveland

At the Seashore (1880), by James Tissot. Etching and drypoint. Cleveland Museum of Art.

In 1880, Tissot became a charter member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, founded by Seymour Haden for artists who produced their own prints of their paintings, and he began exhibiting his prints regularly in England and Scotland through the end of the decade, contributing works to shows including “Manchester Exhibition of Works in Black and White,” “Exhibition of Works in Black and White, Glasgow,” and an exhibition with the Society of Painter-Etchers in London in 1881.

James Tissot, A Children's Party, etching, clarkart.edu

A Children’s Garden Party (1880), by James Tissot. Drypoint on paper. The Clark, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Tissot’s etchings account for a significant and increasing proportion of his earnings between 1876 and 1881. His subjects were often based on his domestic arrangement with his young mistress, Kathleen Newton, who moved into his house in St. John’s Wood around 1876 and appeared in about two dozen of his prints, and her two children.

In May, 1882, he held a one-man exhibition at the Dudley Gallery, London, “J.J. Tissot” An Exhibition of Modern Art,” which included twelve oil paintings and twenty-one cloisonné enamels as well as fifty-eight etchings.

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Summer Evening (Soirée d’été, 1882), by James Tissot. Etching and drypoint. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

After Kathleen Newton died in November 1882 and Tissot moved to Paris, he took a number of the plates he had made in London and used them to make a substantial number of copies throughout that decade, offering them for sale during his exhibition of prints in Paris in 1886. The Paris editions were printed on heavier paper (often cream-colored) in brown-black ink, and though often stamped, they are rarely signed in pencil. Tissot carefully numbered these prints and the editions were smaller.

He also produced new plates in Paris, including five etchings made after oil paintings in his series La Femme à Paris.

James Tissot, L'Ambitieuse, print, Yale

La Femme à Paris: L’Ambitieuse (1883-85), by James Tissot. Etching and drypoint. Yale University Art Gallery.

Occasionally, particularly when living in London, Tissot experimented with antique, Japanese, and colored papers, as well as vellum, and he sometimes used colored inks.

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Emigrants (1880), by James Tissot. Drypoint on laid paper. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

When Tissot signed a print in pencil (never in ink), it indicated he considered it outstanding; pencil-signed copies of most of his prints are rare. Almost all copies of four of Tissot’s prints are signed and seem to have been issued in relatively small editions: Mavourneen (1877), October (1878), Emigrants (1880), and In the Sunlight (1881). He had begun using the red monogram stamp on his first prints in 1860 and continued to use it on those he considered superior – though not consistently.

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Le Matin (Morning, 1886), by James Tissot. Mezzotint on wove paper. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

According to Tissot scholar Dr. Willard E. Misfeldt, there is no reliable guide to the number of Tissot’s prints that were made. However, William Weston, when exhibiting Tissot prints at his London gallery in 1984, observed in the accompanying catalogue that there were two editions of some of Tissot’s prints – a London printing and a Paris printing. Prints made in London, generally by Frederick Goulding (1842–1909, described by Haden in 1879 as “the best printer of etchings in England just now”), were done in small editions, usually on white, thin laid papers in black or brown-black ink, and often were stamped and signed in pencil by Tissot. These high-quality impressions of Tissot’s finest and most popular prints are scarce today.

Another professional printer whom Tissot entrusted with his work was Auguste Delâtre (1822-1907), of whom Haden said, “if Rembrandt lived now, he would send his plates to Delâtre.”

James Tissot, Mavoureen, artsmia.org

A Winter’s Walk (1880), by James Tissot. Etching and drypoint printed in black and red. Minneapolis Institute of Art.

In all, Tissot made about ninety plates between 1860 and 1885. His major prints from the end of this period are the five etchings made after paintings from his series La Femme à Paris. He ceased making prints after 1885, and the following year issued a small promotional catalogue of his prints in Paris. Yet sales of Tissot’s prints declined steeply after this date, and while he seems to have stopped advertising them, he contributed to exhibitions including “Exposition de gravures du siècle,” Galerie Georges Petit (1887), and “Exposition de Peintres-Graveurs at Galerie Durand-Ruel (1889), both in Paris.

According to research by Dr. Misfeldt, Tissot’s carnet, or account book, shows that he earned an increasing amount of his annual income through sales of his prints. In 1876, 2.56% of his income was from prints, a figure that peaked at 74% in 1884, (then dropped sharply until it reached 71% in 1889 and suddenly became negligible).

Mavourneen, featuring Kathleen Newton, was the most popular of his prints.

Over 5,000 unsold impressions of his prints were found in James Tissot’s studio after his death in 1902. Sold at his estate auction in 1903, many of these prints were available at a Paris gallery for years afterward.

Tissot’s prints now sell in the general range of $1,000-10,000 USD, depending on quality, subject matter, and scarcity. In 2013, a particularly fine etching and drypoint print of Tissot’s Octobre (1878), from the edition of approximately one hundred and signed and stamped by the artist, was sold for $ 28,000 USD (Hammer) at auction in New York.

Note: I am neither an art dealer nor an appraiser, and can offer no valuation of fine art prints.

References

“Fourteen Etchings by J.J. Tissot,” by Michael Wentworth, The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Summer, 1968).

James Tissot: Catalogue Raisonné of His Prints, by Michael J. Wentworth. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1978.

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

Also see:

“The Revival of the Artist-Etcher in the Victorian Era,” by Michael Blaker R.E., Senior Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. Victorian Web. http://www.victorianweb.org/graphics/blaker.html. <Accessed 16 October 2019.>

©  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. 

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.

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Tissot’s Textures

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “Tissot’s Textures.” The Hammockhttps://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/tissots-textures/. <Date viewed.>

 

James Tissot’s oil paintings emanate the luxury of Second Empire France and Victorian life, in part by his subject matter and perhaps even more by his skill in realistically depicting texture. Considered superficial by some for his ability to render fabrics in great detail, Tissot was masterful in his ability to recreate on canvas the tactile experience of materials ranging from silk to stone. Often, it’s Tissot’s characteristic juxtaposition of a variety of contrasting textures that produces the sense of opulence in his pictures.

Here are several paintings in which Tissot brilliantly brought surfaces to sumptuous life.

James Tissot, Snack, The

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)

In The Snack, Tissot created multiple layers of textures. The subject, a woman richly dressed in a layered ensemble featuring a crisp, knife-pleated underskirt and edging of soft fur, stands in the middle ground of the picture space. The background comprises tapestries and velvety draperies and, even farther back in the space, the airy, lush greenery in the conservatory. On the satiny wood floor stands a hefty carved wooden table whose polished top holds a crystal wine decanter topped by a shimmering silver repoussé lid, and a Chinese porcelain vase carried upward by a feathery dried floral arrangement. A heavy cloth napkin, cleverly seeming within our grasp, accents the hard surfaces.

A_Convalescent_-_James_Tissot

The Convalescent (c. 1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas; 30.2 by 39.06 in. (76.7 by 99.2 cm.). Museums Sheffield. 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.

The Convalescent is a riot of contrasting textures: in the background there are the fluted cast-iron columns of Tissot’s garden colonnade, the weathered stone tree pots and pond rim, and the gnarled, weighty tree trunk, interspersed with the lacy branches of the willows and hickory trees which flutter over the glassy water. In the foreground, softly draped gowns, warm shawls, and yielding cushions play over the intricate wicker chairs and the undulating carpet. The tea-table provides a vignette of contrasting textures of porcelain, silver, and cake; in fact, each section of the painting is a celebration of varied materials we long to touch.

A_Convalescent_-_James_Tissot (2)                          A_Convalescent_-_James_Tissot (3)

James_Tissot, Waiting for the Train, the-ath

Waiting for the Train (Willesden Junction), c. 1871-1873, by James Tissot. Oil on panel. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand (Image: the-athenaeum.org).

In Waiting for the Train (Willesden Junction), the worn leather baggage greets us; we can almost run our fingers over its comfortable smoothness. Behind it stands the painting’s subject, a woman sporting an array of textures, from her heavy gown to her wool traveling blanket, leather bag, profuse bouquet of flowers, well-thumbed book, metal-tipped umbrella, and straw boater. The softer textures are juxtaposed against the hard tiled platform with its jagged-edged roof line, the metal of the rubbish bin, and the glass lantern, all against the background of the iron train tracks, the iron, glass and steel of the station, and in the distance, two train engines. These solid surfaces are softened by the forms of the passengers to the right and left of the central figure as well as, in the far background, the billowing forms of the trees and the great puffs of steam from the engines.

James_Tissot_-_A_Widow, 1868

A Widow (Une veuve, 1868), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 27 by 19.5 in. (68.5 by 49.5 cm). (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

James_Tissot_-_A_Widow, 1868 (2)

In A Widow, Tissot presents a seemingly decorous subject amid a jumble of textures that beckon us to step onto the sandy ground of the scene. The black shape of the central figure’s full-skirted gown is mitigated by its sheer, silk chiffon outer layer. While the tea-table would be more predictably placed at the woman’s left, the soft and rounded mass of flowers on the open-shelved table at her side further lightens the black gown. Since the narrative component of the picture takes place in the foreground, and the hazy background comprises a great deal of the image, Tissot has defined and enlivened the middle ground with a detailed still-life on the tea-table. Crystal wine decanters and glasses, a glossy Chinese porcelain biscuit jar, and a plate of tempting pastries contrast with the soft forms throughout the painting.

James_Tissot, At the Rifle Range, the-ath

At the Rifle Range (1869), by James Tissot. 26 ½ by 18 ¾ in. (67.3 by 47.6). Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, U.K. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

At the Rifle Range shows Tissot at his finest: the woman, sporting a fur-trimmed, patterned jacket and overskirt, is juxtaposed against luxuriant, rippling shrubbery and an imposing brick garden wall with its wide pillars. The grass below is fine and soft, the metal gun barrels substantial. The wooden table, posts and trellis provide a transition between the hard and soft surfaces. The palpable sense of luxury and privilege in this image is largely due to the woman’s lavish costume, and Tissot makes her a gem by placing her in this richly textured setting.

James_Tissot, Les Adieux, the-ath

Les Adieux (The Farewells) 1871, by James Tissot, oil on canvas, 39 1/2 by 24 5/8 in. (100.3 by 62.6 cm), Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, U.K. Photo 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

In Les Adieux, Tissot showcases his expertise painting stone, brick, vegetation, fabric, metal and even the delicate lace mitts of the woman and supple leather gloves of the man. The iron fence, the ivy climbing up the brick wall, the rough, stained stone, and the dead, dry leaves at the woman’s feet are exceptionally convincing in their tangible three-dimensionality.

James Tissot, Still Life with Shells, 1866

Still Life with Shells (1866), by James Tissot. Private collection.

As we head into autumn and gather the favorite materials, books, and mementos we take comfort in, we can feel Tissot’s evident delight in rendering tactile forms and textures on a two-dimensional canvas, as captured in his Still Life with Shells. It is not superficial, but deeply human to be alive to the beauty of the world around us and the luxury inherent in our sensory experience.

Related posts:

James Tissot’s Brushwork

Tissot’s Tiger Skin: A Prominent Prop

Wicker: James Tissot’s Modern Prop Furniture

A Proper British Prop: Tissot’s Tartan Blanket

James Tissot, the painter art critics love to hate

©  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. 

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

Tissot’s Study for “Young Lady in a Boat”

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “Tissot’s Study for ‘Young Lady in a Boat.'” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/tissots-study-for-young-lady-in-a-boat/. <Date viewed.>

 

James Tissot’s Study for Young Lady in a Boat (Jeune femme en bateau, 1870), called Pensive Girl Adrift in a Boat, illustrates how quickly and confidently he prepared for his oil paintings. By this time a successful painter with a villa and studio in the avenue de l’Impératrice (now avenue Foch) in Paris, this study appears dashed off in minutes by a professional assured of wealthy and aristocratic patrons. Young Lady in a Boat, now in a private collection, was displayed at the Salon in 1870, one of Tissot’s final two oils exhibited in Paris prior to the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War later that year.

In the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. but not on view, this study is half the size of the final oil painting. Tissot used red chalk to loosely sketch the contour of the low boat. The central figure is delineated in such precise strokes that it is clear he knew exactly how he wanted to portray the young and beautiful woman: seated, wearing a long-sleeved white muslin prop gown with distinctive cuffs, which he had featured in Unaccepted (1869, private collection) as well as other versions of Young Lady in a Boat, including some entitled On the River. The black straw hat, with its profusion of black and white striped ribbon bows, also is repeated in this composition.

C12370.jpg

Pensive Girl Adrift in a Boat, by James Tissot. Red chalk on buff wove paper, 25.3 by 34.3 cm (9 15/16 by 13 1/2 in.), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

And there is a pug dog – not nestled on the woman’s lap or at her feet, but oddly positioned behind her, on guard at the boat’s stern. As Tissot deftly sketched out options for the shape of the boat and the silhouette of the woman, the study indicates he was certain where he wanted the pug.

Queen Victoria began breeding pugs in the 1860s, and Tissot, well aware of trends in England, included pugs in a number of paintings at this time: La Cheminée (By the Fireside, c. 1869), Unaccepted (1869)Jeune femme en bateau (Young Woman in a Boat, 1870), La partie carrée (The Foursome, 1870), and Vive la République! (Un souper sous le Directoire, c. 1870).

C12370.jpgTissot’s study also indicates his certainty about the background for a picture clearly painted in his studio rather than en plein air: to the woman’s right, the long vertical strokes were realized in the resulting oil as reeds, while the faint horizontal lines behind her indicated the shoreline that echoes the horizontal line of the port side of the boat.

He also knew he wanted the viewer’s eye to travel from the bouquet of flowers in front of the woman diagonally back into the picture space, to her face and on to the pug, and each iteration of his study indicates this composition. In the finished work, the woman, with her skirts and draped shawl, sits higher on the boat than in the studies, and her bouquet is smaller.

With few adjustments, and no apparent redrawn elements or erasures, Tissot rapidly laid out the scene.

Even the woman’s pose was worked out in his mind prior to this study. Her right arm is bent on her lap, with her hand on her chin; her left arm is folded beneath, dangling a fan over her right thigh. But while the inset at the lower right of the study indicates only the placement of the fan, the larger central study indicates the hand would lay over the handle of the fan. In the final composition, Tissot shows the woman, rather coquettishly, barely supporting the fan between her upturned palm; she might be swinging or tapping it. The effect suggests both languor and movement.

C12370.jpg          James Tissot, Young_Lady_in_a_Boat, oil

C12370.jpgAnother decision the study helped Tissot make was the shape of the boat. In the large central portion of the study, and in the inset at the lower right, he initially envisioned a skiff with relatively straight sides and a wide, square stern. But in the inset at the lower left, he experimented with curved sides and a narrow stern that draws the viewer’s eye to the pug dog, and this is the shape he used in the oil painting.

Perhaps the most fascinating decision James Tissot made with this study, and the choice that is so characteristic of the enduring charm of his work, is to pivot the woman’s gaze from the right to a frank contemplation of the viewer. She is, in fact, studying us.

As for her guardian pug, a critic at the time remarked that it was “a dog with the head of a monkey…who appears without doubt to be a very rare species.”

James Tissot, Young_Lady_in_a_Boat, oil

Young Lady in a Boat (Jeune femme en bateau), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 50.2 by 64.8 cm. Private collection. (Wikimedia)

Related posts:

Tissot’s Study for the family of the Marquis de Miramon (1865)

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

Girls to Float Your Boat, by James Tissot

James Tissot’s Animals

© 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.

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.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/on-holiday-with-james-tissot-and-kathleen-newton-in-1878-by-lucy-paquette-for-the-victorian-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.

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/. <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”

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Embarkation at Calais”.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/a-closer-look-at-tissots-embarkation-at-calais/. <Date viewed.>

 

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)

To cite this article, Paquette, Lucy. “Portrait of the Pilgrim: “a dealer of genius” (1899-1900).” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/04/15/portrait-of-the-pilgrim-a-dealer-of-genius-1899-1900/. <Date viewed.>

 

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

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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.