Tag Archives: Baron Haussmann

In a class by himself: Tissot beyond the competition, 1866

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. In a class by himself: Tissot beyond the competition, 1866. The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/in-a-class-by-himself-tissot-beyond-the-competition-1866/. <Date viewed.>

 

By 1866, Tissot’s oil portraits included dapper, upper-class gentlemen, attractive and well dressed ladies of leisure, and a wealthy-looking boy of 12 or so wearing knee breeches and red and white diced Scottish hose.  Most stunning was his Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née Thérèse Feuillant, in her husband’s castle, the château de Paulhac in Auvergne.  Tissot depicts the 30-year-old Marquise wearing a pink velvet housecoat, leaning on the mantel in her sitting room with a stylish Japanese screen behind her.

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.

At the Paris Salon in 1866, Tissot showed Young Woman in a Church (Jeune Femme dans une Église) and The Confessional (Leaving the Confessional, 1865), a keepsake picture of a fashionable woman.

display_image, Southampton Tissot

Leaving the Confessional (1865), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 45 ½ by 27 ¼ in. (115.4 by 69.2 cm). Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton, U.K. (Photo: http://www.the-athenaeum.org)

Though neither painting earned particular acclaim, Tissot was elected hors concours – beyond the competition, or, in a class by himself:  from now on, he could exhibit any painting he wished at the annual Salon, without submitting his work to the jury’s scrutiny.  Only artists who had won three major awards at previous Salons were eligible to receive this honor.  How did a 30-year old artist, who had won no medals following his honorable mention in 1861, rise to this height in only his seventh year of exhibiting?  One 20th century scholar has suggested the rationale that Tissot had earned a substantial following by this time.  But in terms of official endorsement from the Salon, could it be that the suave, ambitious and well-connected young artist was being rewarded for being reliably traditional in a time of open rebellion among artists of his age?

The price for his pictures skyrocketed.

Showing a real 'vernissage' (note the workers ...

Showing a real ‘vernissage’ (note the workers in the background), Salon de Paris, 1866. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Tissot, from 1857, had been using photography to record all the paintings he produced.  He also recorded in his carnet (notebook), the sale dates and prices.  In 1863, he had been more than 100,000 francs in debt, but Tissot now was earning over 70,000 francs a year.  At 30, he decided to purchase property – on the most prestigious new thoroughfare in Paris, the avenue de l’Impératrice (Empress Avenue, now avenue Foch).

The avenue de l’Impératrice, built in 1856, ran from the Place de l’Étoile to the new imperial playground of the Bois de Boulogne, west of the city.  The tree-lined avenue, less than a mile long and 394 feet wide (1300 by 120 meters), was divided into spacious, separate lanes for carriages, horseback riders and pedestrians, and soon it was lined on both sides with splendid villas.

Tissot purchased a lot at No. 64 on a little street running off the avenue itself, near the Bois.  Certainly his income had greatly increased, and his mother had left him an inheritance when she died in 1861, though there is no record of its worth.  I discovered another likely factor in his acquisition while reading a book about Parisian artists written in the 1880s:

In France, a country whose monuments are the records of its history, he whom art makes great occupies an important relation to the state as well as society. France fosters art, provides for its necessities, endows it richly, because it recognizes in its growth not only a magnificent industry, but a means of education and refinement that nothing else can produce. She throws around it the same laws which protect her commercial interests, making art a legitimate profession, and socially opens to her artists the same doors that she does to her scholars, soldiers, literati, and statesmen […] Baron Haussmann planned an artist quarter in the vicinity of Passy and the Bois de Boulogne.   The city offered land to sculptors and painters on very favorable terms, and proffered assistance in building.

Tissot, the son of a husband and wife team of self-made merchants who bought themselves an imposing eighteenth-century château in the county in the thirteenth year of their marriage, was even more astute with his money.

He would be living in grand style in his luxurious new villa by late 1867 or early 1868.

Still Life with Shells (1866), by James Tissot. (Photo: http://www.jamestissot.org)

© Copyright Lucy Paquette 2012.  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/B009P5RYVE.

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

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “Paris c. 1865: The Giddy Life of Second Empire France.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/paris-c-1865-the-giddy-life-of-second-empire-france/. <Date viewed.>

 

NapoleonIIIHaussmann

Napoleon III and Haussmann (Photo: Wikipedia)

By 1865, Napoléon III’s majestic and “revolution-proof” vision to modernize Paris had been methodically implemented for twelve years by his préfet, Baron Haussmann.  James Tissot had lived and painted in the city during nine years of this transformation.  The economy was booming as overcrowded medieval buildings were demolished, hills were leveled, bridges were constructed, and narrow, tangled streets were replaced with straight, broad tree-lined avenues extending to the western suburbs where fields of cabbages once grew.  When the Arc de Triomphe was completed in 1836, five streets radiated from it; Haussmann added seven more and a traffic round-about, and it became known as Place de l’Etoile (Place of the Star).  In an effort to create a large, clean and progressive metropolis, rows of neo-classical apartment buildings were constructed with shops at street level, as well as a breathtakingly beautiful new opera house.

Paris Opéra Garnier Grand escalier

Paris Opéra Garnier, Grand escalier (Photo: Wikipedia)

To serve a population that had almost doubled in the past fifteen years and was nearing two million, aqueducts transported fresh spring water to city reservoirs, and an extensive sewer system was installed.  Telegraph lines allowed modern and efficient communication.  Railways now branched out from the city, reaching into the outlying regions and making it an industrial center.  Trains also encircled the city, so that the main railroad stations were conveniently connected within the old fortified wall around the capital.  The once-squalid city had become an international model of urban planning, with new public squares and parks.  The densely wooded Bois de Boulogne was designed on the western edge of the city as an imperial playground, with two lakes, a zoo, an aviary, and an aquarium plus a thoroughbred race course, Longchamp.

The splendid new streets now were a cacophony of horses, carriages, and omnibuses.  Parisians flaunted their wealth, and conspicuous consumption was the order of the day.  Grand department stores and hotels sprang up, and cafés spilled thousands of tables and chairs into the wide sidewalks, packed with people of all classes taking in the spectacle between two and six in the afternoon.  Shops stayed open into the night, drawing crowds from nine o’clock to midnight and beyond, and to the east, there were theaters, music halls and cabarets.  With 15,000 gaslights glittering on the streets, Paris became “The City of Light.”

Valentine Haussmann and her father, Georges Haussmann (fr.wikipedia.org)

While the Emperor carried on affairs with women including Valentine Haussmann, the 21-year-old daughter of the man renovating Paris, the Empress Eugénie and her friends would drive themselves down the elegant avenue de l’Impératrice – Empress Avenue (now the avenue Foch) – heading for the Bois de Boulogne in an open carriage to boat on the lakes, sip wine at the Swiss Chalet there, and enjoy picnics and galas.  Like London’s Hyde Park, it was the place to see and be seen, and to show off fine horses.  In the winter, there was ice skating (introduced in 1862 by the Empress Eugénie), and there were always balls at the Tuileries; in 1865, it was the fashion to drive to masked balls at 3 a.m.  The Empress patronized Charles Worth, the first dressmaker to offer his own designs at luxury fashion shows and to label his creations.  Eugénie’s tastes set style; her extravagant white tulle ballgown strewn with diamonds led to imitations sewn with beetles, butterflies and bells.

The Empress Eugenie Surrounded by her Ladies in Waiting, by Franz Winterhalter (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

Princess Mathilde Bonaparte

Princess Mathilde Bonaparte (Photo: Wikipedia)

The power behind the throne – in cultural matters, at least — was not Eugénie or even a mistress, but Princess Mathilde.  A first cousin of Napoléon III, she was engaged to him briefly at age 16, though they were mismatched intellectually.  When the man she did marry turned out to be cruel and abusive, she fled him with her Parisian lover, the Comte de Nieuwerkerke.  She took her family’s jewels, using them as collateral for a bank loan of 500,000 francs that funded her cousin’s rise to power.  Even after Napoléon III’s marriage to Eugénie, a Spanish countess educated in Paris, Mathilde wielded enormous power.  At the Paris townhouse Napoléon III put at her disposal, she regularly received scientists, writers, painters, and musicians, and she obtained advantages for them.  She herself was an artist, winning a medal for her painting at the Salon in 1865, and it was at her request that the Comte de Nieuwerkerke (a failed sculptor) was promoted to Superintendent of Fine Arts in 1863, at an annual salary of 60,000 francs.  It is said that Princess Mathilde decided who was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, or which painter won a medal.

Portrait of Count Alfred Émilien de Nieuwerkerke (1811 – 1892), c. 1856-57, by Princess Mathilde Bonaparte.  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

2-james_tissot_self_portrait_1865-the-legion-of-honor-fine-arts-museums-of-san-francisco-ca-public-domain-image

Self portrait (1865), by James Tissot, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA, USA. 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

What would Tissot, a man who had depicted himself in a self-portrait a few years earlier as a hooded monk, have been doing amid the heady delights of life in the imperial capital?

In an 1865 photograph, he’s a dapper dresser.  Though still living in the dilapidated Latin Quarter at 29, he was enjoying increasing professional success and was described as a boulevardier – a man-about-town.

In addition to painters, his friends included poets (Camille-André Lemoyne, 1822 – 1907, who dedicated a published poem to Tissot in 1860), writers (Alphonse Daudet, 1840 – 1897, who lived in the rented room below his), and composers (Emmanuel Chabrier, 1841 – 1894, whose portrait Tissot drew in 1861).

He was associated, loosely, with a band of artistic rebels led by Manet – men who met at the Café de Bade to debate the purpose of art and express their frustration with the rigidity of the Paris art Establishment.  But, perhaps, Tissot – a traditionalist at heart — had more closely allied himself with some of the most prominent figures of the Second Empire.

© Copyright Lucy Paquette 2012.  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/B009P5RYVE.