Tag Archives: James Abbott McNeill Whistler

The Stars of Victorian Painting: Auction Prices

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.] 

What is the current value of paintings by the most popular artists of the mid- to late Victorian era?  Can you guess whose work brings the top price to date?  Where do James Tissot and your favorite artist rank?  Here is a list of the twenty-three most valuable pictures sold in the past twenty-one years, from bottom up:

 

23.  John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917), Ophelia (1894)

Phillips, London (2000):  $ 2,253,300/£ 1,500,000

Ophelia (1894), by John William Waterhouse. Oil on canvas, 49 by 29 in. (124.46 by 73.66 cm). (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

22.  Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 – 1912), Roses of Heliogabalus (1888)

Christie’s, London (1993):  $ 2,288,250/£ 1,500,000

Roses of Heliogabalus (1888), by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Oil on canvas, 52 by 84 in. (132.08 by 213.36 cm). (Photo Wikimedia.org)

 

21 (tie).  James Tissot (1836 – 1902), Mavourneen (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1877)

Christie’s, New York (1995):  $ 2,300,000/£ 1,433,915

Mavourneen (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1877), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 36 by 20 in. (91.44 by 50.80 cm). (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

21 (tie).  Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 – 1912).  Baths of Caracalia – Thermae Antoniniane (1899)

Sotheby’s, New York (1993):  $ 2,300,000/£ 1,488,191

Baths of Caracalia – Thermae Antoniniane (1899), by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Oil on canvas, 60 by 37 in. (152.40 by 93.98 cm). (Photo: Wikiart.org)

 

20.  James Tissot (1836 – 1902), La cheminée (At the Fireside, c. 1869)

Christie’s, London (2003):  $ 2,334,780/£ 1,400,000

La cheminée (At the Fireside, c. 1869), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 20 by 13 in. (50.80 by 33.02 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

19.  James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903), Harmony in grey, Chelsea in ice (1864)

Christie’s, New York (2000):  $ 2,600,000/£ 1,768,106

 

18.  John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917), Ophelia (1889)

Sotheby’s, London (2001):  $ 2,633,290/£ 1,850,000

Ophelia (1889), by John William Waterhouse. Oil on canvas, 39 by 62 in. (99.06 by 157.48 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

17.  James Tissot (1836 – 1902), L’Orpheline (Orphans, 1879)

Christie’s, New York (1993):  $ 2,700,000/£ 1,867,865

L’Orpheline (Orphans, 1879), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 85 by 43 in. (215.90 by 109.22 cm). (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

16.  James Tissot (1836 – 1902), Preparing for the gala (c. 1874-76)

Christie’s, London (2006):  $ 2,763,150/£ 1,500,000

 

15.  William Holman Hunt (1827 – 1910), The Shadow of Death (1873)

Sotheby’s, London (1994):  $ 2,778,650/£ 1,700,000

The Shadow of Death (1873), by William Holman Hunt. Oil on panel, 41 by 32 in. (104.14 by 81.28 cm). (Photo: wikipaintings.org)

 

14.  James Tissot (1836 – 1902), October (1878)

Sotheby’s, New York (1995):  $ 2,800,000/£ 1,775,185

October (1878), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 46 by 21 in. (116.84 by 53.34 cm). (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

13.  Sir John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896), Sleeping (1865)

Christie’s, London (1999):  $ 3,041,520/£ 1,900,000

Sleeping (1865), by John Everett Millais. Oil on canvas, 35 by 27 in. (88.90 by 68.58 cm). (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

12.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882), The Salutation of Beatrice (1869)

Christie’s, London (2012):  $ 3,334,788/£ 2,169,250 (Premium)

The Salutation of Beatrice (1869), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Oil on canvas, 22.48 by 18.50 in. (57.10 by 47.00 cm). (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

 

11.  Albert Joseph Moore (1841 – 1893), Jasmine (c. 1880)

Christie’s, London (2008):  $ 3,476,301/£ 1,777,250 (Premium)

Jasmine (c. 1880), by Albert Moore. Oil on canvas, 26.22 by 19.72 in. (66.60 by 50.10 cm). (Photo: Wikiart.org)

 

10.  Sir John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896), Sisters (1868)

Christie’s, London (2013):  $ 3,492,865/£ 2,301,875 (Premium)

Sisters (1868), by John Everett Millais. Oil on canvas, 42.52 by 42.52 in. (108.00 by 108.00 cm).  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

9.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882), Pandora (1869)

Christie’s, London (2000):  $ 3,605,280/£ 2,400,000

In 2004, Pandora sold for $ 2,378,480/£ 1,300,000 (Hammer) at Christie’s, London.

Pandora (1869), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Pastel on paper, 37 by 26 in. (93.98 by 66.04 cm). (Photo: Wikiart.org)

 

8.  James Tissot (1836 – 1902), Le banc de jardin (The Garden Bench, 1880)

Sotheby’s, New York (1994):  $ 4,800,000/£ 3,035,093

Le banc de jardin (The Garden Bench, 1880). Oil on canvas, 39 by 56 in. (99.06 by 142.24 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

7.  William Holman Hunt (1827 – 1910), Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1867)

Christie’s, London (2014):  $ 4,890,161/£ 2,882,500 (Premium)

Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1867), by William Holman Hunt. Oil on canvas, 23.86 by 15.24 in. (60.60 by 38.70 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

6.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882), Proserpine (1880)

Sotheby’s, London (2013):  $ 5,279,476/£ 3,274,500 (Premium)

Dante_Gabriel_Rossetti_Proserpina_(chalks)

Proserpine (1880), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Colored chalks, 47.24 by 22.05 in. (120.00 by 56.00 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

5.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882), A Christmas Carol (1867)

Sotheby’s, London (2013):  $ 7,463,337/£ 4,562,500 (Premium)

A Christmas Carol, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Oil on panel, 17.91 by 14.96 in. (45.50 by 38.00 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

4.  John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917), St. Cecilia (1895)

Christie’s, London (2000):  $ 9,013,200/£ 6,000,000

St. Cecilia (1895), by John William Waterhouse. Oil on canvas, 48 by 79 in. (121.92 by 200.66 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

3.  Sir Edward Coley BurneJones (1833 – 1898), Love among the Ruins (1873)

Christie’s, London (2013):  $ 22,527,130/£ 14,845,875 (Premium)

Love Among the Ruins (1873), by Edward Burne-Jones. Watercolor, 37.99 by 60.00 in. (96.50 by 152.40 cm) (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

2.  Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 – 1912), The Meeting Of Antony And Cleopatra: 41 BC (1883)

Sotheby’s, New York (2011):  $ 29,202,500/£ 17,802,060 (Premium)

The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra: 41 BC (1883), by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Oil on panel, 25 3/4 by 36 in. (65.5 by 91.4 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

1.  Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 – 1912), The Finding of Moses (1904)

Sotheby’s, New York (2010):  $ 35,922,500/£ 22,080,336 (Premium)

The finding of Moses sold for $ 2,500,000/£ 1,558,603 (Hammer) at Christie’s, New York in 1995.

The Finding of Moses (1904), Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Oil on canvas, 53.82 by 84.02 in. (136.70 by 213.40 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

This price list is not in perfect order because, as I noted at the outset, some prices are hammer price (the winning bid amount) and some include the premium (hammer price with an additional percentage charged by the auction house, plus taxes).  But I’ve compiled the list using the best information available, and I hope you enjoy it!

©  2014 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:

Tissot vs. Whistler, Degas, Manet & Morisot oils at auction

James Tissot oils at auction: Seven favorites

Kathleen Newton by James Tissot: eight auctioned oil paintings

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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

James Tissot and his friends, including James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot, did not work in a vacuum.  In addition, creative personalities can be strong, and the public and the critics could be merciless.  Career success or failure sometimes led to rivalries, but competitive friendships inspired all the artists in their circle.

Gustave Courbet’s Woman with a Parrot, displayed prominently at the Salon in 1866, was a tremendous success with the public.  In 1867, the Salon jury rejected Edouard Manet’s work, and all his entries also were rejected that year for the Paris International Exposition, which, like the Salon, was sponsored by the French government.  The International Exposition was a far bigger event than the Salon; it was held from April 1 to November 3 and included exhibitors from forty-one nations.  Courbet and Manet teamed up to present their work in an independent exhibition, building a large, temporary wooden pavilion across the street from one of the entrances to the International Exposition, at the Place d’Alma.  Manet showed fifty-six paintings, including his homage to Courbet’s Woman with a Parrot, called Young Lady in 1866.

Woman with a Parrot (1866), by Gustave Courbet. Oil on canvas, 51 by 77 in. (129.5 by 195.6 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

Young Lady in 1866 (1866), by Edouard Manet. Oil on canvas; 72 7/8 by 50 5/8 in. (185.1 by 128.6 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Manet’s student, Eva Gonzalès, not quite 21, made her Salon debut in 1870 with three paintings including Enfant de troupe, her take on Manet’s The Fife Player (rejected by the Salon jury in 1866).  Her picture was understood as an homage.

The Fife Player (1866), by Edouard Manet. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

Enfant de troupe (Soldier Boy, 1870), by Eva Gonzalès. Oil on canvas, 51.2 by 38.6 in. (130 by 98 cm). Musée Gaston Rapin, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

But Manet, who struggled enormously to gain acceptance in the Paris art establishment, found himself accused of plagiarism rather than an homage in 1873.  Painter Alfred Stevens, enormously rich and successful, was overheard at the Salon in 1873 sniping at Manet for plagiarizing Le Bon Bock from Frans Hals’ The Merry Drinker (1628–1630).  Manet publicly rebuked Stevens, stopping short of a physical confrontation.  Le Bon Bock won an honorable mention.

The Merry Drinker (1628-30), by Frans Hals. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

Le Bon Bock (The Good Pint, 1873), by Edouard Manet. Oil on canvas, 37 1/4 by 32 13/16 in. (94.6 by 83.3 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Manet borrowed ideas from Old Masters, but Edgar Degas accused Manet of plagiarizing from him, complaining to a friend, “That Manet. As soon as I did dancers, he did them.  He always imitated.”  However, prominent biographer Jeffrey Meyers points out that Manet painted milliners and women bathing in a tub before Degas did.  Art historian Jean Sutherland Boggs noted that Degas’ The Steeplechase (1866) was significantly influenced by Manet’s The Dead Toreador (1864).  Phoebe Pool, another art historian, wrote, “A great deal of nonsense has been written about Manet’s plagiarism…Critics do not object to Degas or the young Picasso using the works of older artists, yet they deplore this practice in Manet.”

The Dead Toreador (1864), by Edouard Manet. Oil on canvas, 29 7/8 by 60 3/8 in. (75.9 by 153.3 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Scene from the Steeplechase: The Fallen Jockey (1866), by Edgar Degas. Oil on canvas, 70 7/8 by 59 13/16 in. (180 by 152 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

In September 1875, Eugene Manet found his brother at work on an extraordinary new picture.  He told his wife, Berthe Morisot, “Edouard has started a painting that is going to upset all the painters who think they own plein air and light-colored paintings.  Not a drop of black.  It seems Turner appeared to him in a dream.”  The picture, Laundry, showed a housewife happily doing the family laundry.  Later, Degas would be known for his depictions of laundresses, but they were workers paid to do other people’s drudgery.

Le Linge (Laundry, 1875), by Edouard Manet. Oil on canvas, 57 1/4 by 45 1/4 in. (145.4 by 114.9 cm). Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Laundresses Carrying Linen in Town (c. 1876-78), by Edgar Degas. Oil colors on paper mounted on canvas, 18 by 24 in. (46 by 61 cm). Private collection. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Degas’ The Absinthe Drinker (1875-76) was denounced at the Salon in 1876; Manet painted Plum Brandy the next year – but Manet also had painted The Absinthe Drinker in 1858-59.  Who copied whom?

The Absinthe Drinker (c. 1859), by Edouard Manet. Oil on canvas, 70.1 by 40.6 in. (178 by 103 cm). Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The Absinthe Drinkers (1873), by Edgar Degas. Oil on canvas, 36.2 by 27 in. (92 by 68.5 cm). Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Plum Brandy (c. 1877), by Edouard Manet. Oil on canvas, 29 by 19 3/4 in. (73.6 by 50.2 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Meanwhile, James Abbott McNeill Whistler was afraid that Gustave Courbet would steal his idea for Wapping (1860-64).  In a letter to a friend, Whistler ecstatically described the “masterpiece” he was working on, adding, “Ssh! Don’t talk about it to Courbet!”

Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (1659), by Diego Velázquez. Oil on canvas, 50 in by 42 in., 127 by 107 cm). Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (1872-74), by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Oil on canvas. Tate Gallery, London. (Wikipaintings.org)

But Whistler copied Dutch Old Masters (as in his Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, [Portrait of the Artist’s Mother], 1871), Velázquez (1599 – 1660) and, as Berthe Morisot pointed out, J.M.W. Turner (1775 – 1851):

In a letter to her sister Edma from London, while on her honeymoon with Eugène Manet in 1875, Berthe Morisot wrote: “I visited the National Gallery, of course. I saw many Turners (Whistler, whom we liked so much, imitates him a great deal).”

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Moonlight, a Study at Millbank (1797). Oil paint on mahogany, 314 by 403 mm. Tate Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

Nocturne: Blue and Gold–Southampton Water (1872), by James McNeill Whistler. Oil on canvas, 19 7/8 by 29 15/16 in. (50.5 by 76 cm). Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Did Berthe Morisot ever borrow ideas from the artists in her circle?

In 1869, Manet painted Berthe Morisot with a Muff.  Almost a decade later, in 1878, James Tissot painted A Winter’s Walk.

A Winter’s Walk, by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

In 1879-80, Manet painted Isabelle Lemonnier with Muff.

Isabelle Leonnier with a Muff, by Edouard Manet. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

 

In 1880, Morisot painted Winter (Woman with a Muff).

Winter (Woman with a Muff, 1880), by Berthe Morisot. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

These artists, all about the same age and with similar family backgrounds, were friends who lived and worked together.  Each absorbed the influence of the era and of their fellow painters to paint with a distinctive style, though their subject matter may at times have been identical.  They drew inspiration from one another but also competed with each other for critical notice, public attention – and the purses of patrons.

Related post:

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

©  2014 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/B009P5RYVE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

Today is April Fool’s Day – and my birthday – so let’s have some fun.

On November 3, 1874, novelist Edmond de Goncourt (1822 – 1896) wrote in his journal, “Tissot, that plagiarist painter, has had the greatest success in England.”  In the spring of 1880 (two years after James Tissot refused to testify on his behalf during the infamous libel suit against art critic John Ruskin), James Abbott McNeill Whistler wrote from Venice to his sister-in-law in London, describing how busy he was after having produced dozens of beautiful pastels.  He believed they would create envy among other artists:  “Tissot I daresay will try his hands at once – and others too.”

Did Tissot borrow ideas and subject matter from other painters?  Absolutely.  Was he unusual in this?  Consider some evidence.

235px-Whistler_James_Symphony_in_White_no_1_(The_White_Girl)_1862

Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl (1862), by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Oil on canvas, 84.5 in by 42.5 in. (215 cm by 108 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

In 1862, under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite painters in London, Whistler painted The White Girl.  Rejected at the Royal Academy of 1862 and the Paris Salon of 1863, The White Girl was a portrait of Whistler’s mistress, Joanna Hiffernan.  Combining the ambiguous mood of John Everett Millais’ paintings at the time with the “stunners” painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Whistler described the painting as “a woman in a beautiful white cambric dress, standing against a window which filters the light through a transparent white muslin curtain – but the figure receives a strong light from the right and therefore the picture, barring the red hair, is one gorgeous mass of brilliant white.”  The White Girl was accepted for the Salon des Refusés in 1863, and though it impressed a few art critics and many artists, it provoked hilarity from the 7,000 visitors who streamed through.  One critic reported, “The hangers must have thought her particularly ugly, for they have given her a sort of place of honor, before an opening through which all pass, so that nobody misses her…they always looked at each other and laughed.”

Two Sisters (1863), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 82.7 by 53.5 in. (210 by 136 cm). Museé d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

James Tissot admired The White Girl, and influenced by it and fashion plates popular in women’s magazines of the time, he painted Two Sisters in 1863.  It was exhibited at the Salon in 1864, and a prominent critic admired the woman on the right as “a model of elegance, nobility, and simplicity,” her pose in “irreproachable taste.”

Albert Moore (1841 – 1893) met and befriended Whistler in 1865, and his work became purely aesthetic under Whistler’s influence.

Azaleas (1868), by Albert Joseph Moore. Oil on canvas, 100.2 by 197.9 cm. Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896), whose Pre-Raphaelite paintings had been notably original, also imitated artists he admired. The azaleas in Millais’ 1868 portrait of his daughters, Sisters, were copied from Albert Moore’s 1868 Azaleas.

Sisters (1868), by John Everett Millais. Oil on canvas, 42½ by 42½ in. (108 by 108 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

Symphony in White, No. 3 (1865–1867), by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Oil on canvas, 51.4 by 76.9 cm. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts Collection, University of Birmingham. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Millais had pronounced Whistler’s The White Girl (1862) “splendid,” and it and Whistler’s Symphony in White, No. 2 (also known as The Little White Girl, 1864-65 – see below), and Symphony in White, No. 3 (1865-67) inspired the white muslin dresses in which Millais had his three daughters pose.

Hearts are Trumps (1872), by John Everett Millais. Oil on canvas. Tate Britain, London. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

The Ladies Waldegrave (1780), by Sir Joshua Reynolds. 143.00 by 168.30 cm. National Galleries Scotland. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Millais’ Hearts are Trumps (1872) was a triple-portrait challenge he undertook out of admiration for Sir Joshua Reynolds’ The Ladies Waldegrave (1780).

Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1863), by Édouard Manet. Oil on canvas, 208 by 264.5 cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Tissot’s rebel friend, Edouard Manet, painted Le déjeuner sur l’herbe in 1863, suffering its rejection from the Salon in 1863 and the scandal it created at the Salon des Refusés that year.  Famously, Manet borrowed the subject from the Concert champêtre (by Titian, but attributed at the time to Giorgione).

The Pastoral Concert (c. 1509), by Titian. Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

In the spring of 1865, Claude Monet, inspired by Manet, began his own Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, a massive canvas that he abandoned in 1866 due to financial pressures.

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (1865-66), right fragment, Claude Monet. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Tissot, too, painted a Déjeuner sur l’herbe, c. 1865-68, a depiction of a family which may have been his own, enjoying a picnic on the grounds of their château near Besançon, France.  This painting was not exhibited at the time, but Tissot later painted La Partie Carrée (The Foursome), using subject matter similar to Manet’s – though less controversial – which he exhibited at the Salon in 1870.  La Partie Carrée was praised both by art critics and the public.

La Partie Carrée (The Foursome, 1870), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 47 by 57 in. (119.5 by 144.5 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

In the meantime, at the Salon in 1865, James Tissot exhibited Spring, which received some praise because of its similarities to John Everett Millais’ Spring (Apple Blossoms), exhibited at London’s Royal Academy in 1859.

Spring (Apple Blossoms), 1859, by John Everett Millais. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Spring (1865), by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Tissot has been accused of copying the formula for commercial success of his wealthy, older friend Alfred Stevens (1823 – 1906):  paint beautiful women in gorgeous interiors, wearing stunning fashions, often with a distinctive touch of japonisme.

Exotic Trinket (1865), by Alfred Stevens. (Photo: Wiki, cultured.com)

La dame en rose (1866), by Alfred Stevens. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Young Women looking at Japanese Objects (1869), by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Young Women Looking at Japanese Articles (1869), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 27 3/4 by 19 3/4 in. (70.5 by 50.2 cm). (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

But if Tissot copied Stevens, Stevens copied Tissot as well, by depicting two young ladies rather than the single figure he usually painted.

The Japanese Mask (1877), by Alfred Stevens. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Stevens also imitated Whistler.

Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (1864-65), by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Oil on canvas, 30 in by 20 in. (76 cm by 51 cm). Tate Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

La Parisienne japonaise (1872), Alfred Stevens. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

In 1864, Whistler had exhibited Wapping, featuring Jo Hiffernan as a dockside whore, at the Royal Academy; the Establishment had not been impressed.  Yet Wapping was purchased c. 1864/67 by Thomas DeKay Winans (1820-1878), a locomotive engineer and collector from Baltimore  who was one of Whistler’s first patrons.  Tissot exhibited The Last Evening (1873), with its similar jungle of ship’s masts, at the Royal Academy in 1873; it was snapped up even before the exhibition by wealthy London wine merchant Charles Gassiot (1826 – 1902) for £1,000.

Wapping (1860-1864), by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Oil on canvas. 28 3/8 by 40 1/16 in. (72 by 101.8 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

The Last Evening (1873), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 28.5 by 40.5 in. (72.4 by 102.8 cm), Guildhall Art Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Whistler’s most famous painting, Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 (1871), known as Whistler’s Mother, was inspired by Dutch Old Masters portraits he had seen.

Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (1657), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Oil on canvas. 125.5 by 98.5 cm. Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd, Wales. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, also called Portrait of the Artist’s Mother (1871), by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Oil on canvas, 56.81 by 63.94 in. (144.3 by 162.5 cm). Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

In 2009, a small, undated Tissot oil painting called Portrait d’une dame cousant près de la cheminée (Portrait of a lady sewing near the fireplace) was sold at auction for $ 5,295 USD/ £ 3,240 GBP (Premium).  Who copied whom?

Is it “inspiration” if a painter imitates a masterpiece of a long-dead artist, and “plagiarism” if he or she copies a living artist?

One of my college English literature professors, lecturing us on the academic Honor Code and plagiarism, defined originality as “not something no one has ever thought of before, but bearing the stamp of your own mind.”

I thought of this when I saw Phil Grabsky’s film, “Vermeer and Music:  The Art of Love and Leisure, from the National Gallery, London” on October 10, 2013.  In this film, Xavier Bray, Chief Curator at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, discussed Vermeer’s Lady Seated at a Virginal (1670-72), and said that he believed Vermeer definitely saw A Woman Playing a Clavichord by Gerrit Dou (1613 –1675).

A Woman Playing a Clavichord (1665), by Gerrit Dou. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Lady Seated at a Virginal (1670-72), by Johannes Vermeer. Oil on canvas, 20.3 in by 17.9 in. (51.5 cm by 45.5 cm). National Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Bray said that it would have been easy for Vermeer to have taken a boat down to Leiden where Dou’s 1665 picture was exhibited – prior to beginning work on his image five years later.  Bray commented that what Vermeer brought to the concept that Dou pioneered – an intimate scene of a woman interrupted while making music – was to distill the scene down to its elemental serenity.  Vermeer is not considered a plagiarist; his work bore the stamp of his own original mind.

So did Tissot’s.  His success, and his obvious enjoyment of the material rewards it brought him during his lifetime, was just really annoying to many of his contemporaries, especially Edmond de Goncourt and Whistler.

Related blog post:

Riding Coattails: Tissot’s earliest success, 1860 – 1861

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

©  2014 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.

Tissot vs. Whistler, Degas, Manet & Morisot oils at auction

All auction 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.

On May 9, 2013, James Tissot’s newly identified Portrait of Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will (pastel on linen, 35 3/4 by 63 1/8 in./91 by 160.5 cm.) sold for $185,000 (Premium) at Sotheby’s New York.

James Tissot (1836 – 1902) was a multi-millionaire by the time he built his sumptuous villa on the avenue de l’Impératrice [now avenue Foch] in Paris in 1867; his patrons included aristocrats such as René de Cassagne de Beaufort, Marquis de Miramon (1835-1882), the head of an ancient family that could trace its ancestry back to the eleventh century and owed its title to Louis XIV.

At that time, Tissot’s friends Édouard Manet (1832 – 1883), Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) and James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 1903) struggled to be taken seriously and to sell their work.  In 1865, Manet sold a still life of two flowers in a vase and thought the sale might bring him luck.  Degas’ career only began to take off in mid-February 1869, when he and his brother, Achille, traveled to Brussels.  One of the king’s ministers there bought one of Degas’ paintings, and when his work was exhibited at one of the most famous galleries in Europe, he sold two more.  Then a well-known picture dealer offered Degas a contract for 12,000 francs a year.  Whistler was fortunate that, in the mid-1860s, D.G. Rossetti introduced him to Frederick Richards Leyland (1832 – 1892), a shipping magnate from Liverpool; Leyland would become Whistler’s first important patron by the early 1870s.

Now, even prints and pastels by Whistler sell for as much or more than many oil paintings by Tissot.  A pastel by Whistler sold for a record $ 650,500/£ 403,010 (Premium) at Doyle New York on May 9, 2012:  White and Pink (The Palace) depicts the façade of a Venetian palazzo on the Grand Canal.  It was sold by a descendant of the patron who bought it out of Whistler’s studio in 1881 – prominent American collector Louisine Elder (she married sugar refining baron Henry O. Havemeyer in 1883).  Whistler’s oil painting, Harmony in grey, Chelsea in ice (1864), sold for $2,600,000/£ 1,768,106 at Christie’s, New York in 2000 [and was given in 2007 to the Colby College Museum of Art, Maine, by Peter and Paula Lunder].  Variations in violet and green (1871) sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 1987 for $ 2,350,000/£ 1,445,709 [and since 1995 has been in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris].

Danseuses à la barre - Signed 'Degas' (upper r...

Danseuses à la barre, by Edgar Degas,  Pastel, gouache and charcoal on paper 25 7/8 by 19 7/8 in. (65.8 by 50.7 cm). (Photo: Wikipedia)

Degas’ dancers in pastel – and his bronzes – are more sought-after than his oils.  His Danseuse au repos (c. 1879 ) sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 2008 for $ 37,042,500/£ 23,366,239 (Premium).  Danseuses à la barre (c. 1880) sold at Christie’s, London in 2008 for $ 26,567,499/£ 13,481,250 (Premium).

Degas’ oil painting, Trois Danseuses en Rose/Three Dancers in Pink (c. 1886) sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 2008 for $ 8,441,000/£ 4,323,839  (Premium) [it had sold at Sotheby’s, London in 1989 for $3,280,200/£ 2,100,000.]  Les chevaux de courses, sortie du pesage (c. 1871-72) sold at Christie’s, London in 1991 for $ 9,033,750/£ 5,500,000.  Les Blanchisseuses, Les Repasseuses sold at Christie’s, London in 1987 for $ 12,416,120/£ 6,800,000.

 

Trois Danseuses En Rose, by Edgar Degas (Photo courtesy of www.edgar-degas.org)

Trois Danseuses en Rose, by Edgar Degas (Photo courtesy of http://www.edgar-degas.org)

Manet’s oil paintings not in public collections are prized by private collectors and art dealers.  Courses au Bois de Boulogne (1872) sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 2004 for $23,500,000/£ 13,105,794.  Manet sold La rue Mosnier aux drapeaux (1878) in 1879 to a Parisian collector for about $100, and it brought about $13,000 at a Paris auction in 1913.  In 1958, philanthropist Paul Mellon bought it at an auction of Berlin financier Jakob Goldschmidt’s collection for $316,000, a record at that time.  In 1989, the painting was purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, CA, for $ 24,000,000/£ 15,175,466 – a record high for a Manet painting – at Christie’s New York.

la rue mosnier aux drapeaux

La rue Mosnier aux drapeaux, by Édouard Manet (Photo: Cåsbr)

Self-Portrait with Palette

Portrait de Manet par lui-même (Manet à la palette)/ Self Portrait with a Palette (1878) (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Portrait de Manet par lui-même (Manet à la palette)/ Self Portrait with a Palette (1878) is one of only two self-portraits Manet painted (and the only one in a private collection).  This self-portrait was once owned by Manet’s wife, Suzanne, and later by the French margarine magnate Auguste Pellerin.  It was purchased in 1958 at Sotheby’s, London, for £65,000 by John & Frances L. Loeb (New York) from the collection of Jakob Goldschmidt.  In 1997, it was sold at Christie’s New York, to U.S. hedge fund tycoon Stephen A. Wynn (Las Vegas) for $ 17,000,000/£ 10,469,914.  Thirteen years later, in 2010, it was purchased by New York dealer Franck Giraud for $ 33,228,758/£ 22,441,250 (Premium) at Sotheby’s, London.

Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus (1868), by Édouard Manet (Photo: Wikipaintings)

Another measure of the value of Manet’s paintings occurred in 2012, when the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford raised £7.83 million (about $12.5 million) to prevent the French painter’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus (1868) from leaving the U.K.   The unfinished painting of Suzanne Manet’s closest friend, Fanny Claus (1846 – 1877) was once in the collection of John Singer Sargent.  It was sold by Sargent’s heirs to a foreign buyer in 2011 for £28.35 million.  The British government enacted a temporary export bar on the painting until August 7, 2012 to give the Ashmolean Museum time to acquire it at 27% of its market value.  The eight-month fund-raising campaign raised £5.9 million from the British government’s Heritage Lottery Fund; £ 850,000 from The Art Fund, a British cultural charity; and £1,080,000 million from trusts, foundations, and 1,048 individual donors whose gifts ranged from £ 1.50 to £ 10,000.

Edouard Manet, Le Printemps (1881). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Update:  On November 5, 2014, Manet’s Le Printemps (1881) was sold at Christie’s, New York for $ 65,125,000/£ 40,815,367 (Premium) to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.  Depicting Parisian actress Jeanne Demarsy, it was a critical and popular success at the Paris Salon of 1882, and  the last of Manet’s Salon paintings still in private hands.  It was acquired from the artist on January 2, 1883 by French journalist and politician Antonin Proust 1832 – 1905), and by 1902 was owned by opera baritone, composer and art collector Jean-Baptiste Faure 1830 – 1914.  In mid-March, 1907, Le Printemps was acquired by Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris, and then by Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York in late November 1909.  It was immediately purchased by American businessman and Civil War veteran Colonel Oliver H. Payne, New York (1839 – 1917), once one of the wealthiest men in the country, and it was passed down within the same family for over a hundred years.  This sale set a world record for Manet’s work.

By contrast, most of Tissot’s work now sells for a fraction of the value of paintings by the friends he vastly out-earned in his lifetime.

The Garden Bench

The Garden Bench, by James Tissot (Photo: Wikipedia)

The record price for a Tissot oil painting was set by Le Banc de jardin/The Garden Bench (c. 1882).  This was a favorite image of Tissot’s, depicting his happy few years with his mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton (1854–1882), and her children in his garden; he kept it all his life.  It set an auction price record in 1983, when the American oil millionaire Fred Koch paid $ 803,660/£ 520,000 for it at Christie’s, London.  Koch intended to establish a Victorian picture gallery in Regent’s Park but was unable to secure planning permission and dispersed his collection.  In 1994, Le Banc de jardin set another record for a Victorian picture – as well as a record to date for a Tissot painting – when it sold for $ 4,800,000/£ 3,035,093 at Sotheby’s, New York.

Tissot’s October (1878) [presumably a copy of Tissot’s Octobre (1877) at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montréal, gift of Lord Strathcona and family, 1927] sold at Christie’s, London for $ 419/£ 150 in 1958.  October went on to set the second-highest price on record for an oil painting by Tissot when it was sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 1995 for $ 2,800,000/£ 1,775,185.

Here’s a summary of the highest auction prices to date of oil paintings by Tissot, Manet, Degas and Whistler – with top-selling paintings by Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895) as well:

Manet, Le Printemps (1881), $ 65,125,000/£ 40,815,367 (Premium)

Manet, Portrait de Manet par lui-même (Manet à la palette)/Self Portrait with a Palette (1878), $33,228,758/£ 22,441,250 (Premium)

Manet, La rue Mosnier aux drapeaux (1878), $ 24,000,000/£ 15,175,466

Manet, Courses au Bois de Boulogne (1872), $ 23,500,000/£ 13,105,794

Degas, Les Blanchisseuses, Les Repasseuses, $ 12,416,120/£ 6,800,000

Morisot, Après le déjeuner (1881), $10,931,217/£ 6,985,250 (Premium) (sold February 6, 2013, Christie’s London).  This sale set an auction record for a work sold by a female artist.

Degas, Les chevaux de courses, sortie du pesage (c. 1871-72), $ 9,033,750/£ 5,500,000

Degas, Trois Danseuses En Rose (c. 1886), $ 8,441,000/£ 4,323,839 (Premium)

Tissot, Le Banc de jardin/The Garden Bench (c. 1882), $ 4,800,000/£ 3,035,093

Morisot, Cache-cache (1873), $ 4,600,000/£ 2,590,965 (sold November 2, 2005, Sotheby’s New York)

Morisot, Femme à L’éventail (1876), $ 4,365,000/£ 2,818,492 (Premium) (sold May 7, 2013, Sotheby’s New York)

Tissot, October (1878), $ 2,800,000/£  1,775,185, (sold February 16, 1995, Sotheby’s, New York)

Tissot, Preparing for the gala (c. 1874-76), $ 2,763,150/£ 1,500,000 (Sold June 8, 2006, Christie’s, London)

Whistler, Harmony in grey, Chelsea in ice (1864), $ 2,600,000/£ 1,768,106

Whistler, Variations in violet and green (1871), $ 2,350,000/£ 1,445,709

October, by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikipedia)

© 2013 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. 

The Missing Tissot Nudes

Since today is April Fool’s Day – and my birthday * – let’s have some fun and look at James Tissot’s nude pictures.

Tissot seldom painted nudes, and when he did, they often were awkward and lacking in sensuality.

In 1863, at age 27, Tissot painted a circular picture, Nymphs and Satyr, showing three rubbery nude women frolicking in the woods.

The Bather/Japonaise au bain (c. 1864), by James Tissot (about seven by four feet, or 208 by 124 cm), Musée de Dijon, France. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

A year later, he painted The Bather/Japonaise au bain (c. 1864).  The model clearly is a local professional paid to stand for hours in a kimono that Tissot had just purchased from Madame Desoye’s import shop, La Jonque Chinoise (The Chinese Junk) in the rue de Rivoli.  You sense Tissot laboring over exactly where to drape the edges of the garment; it’s less a nude than an exercise in japonisme.

In 1875, at age 39, Tissot created three Frontispieces, featuring symbolic (and rather graceless) nudes, to publish in a portfolio of his drypoint prints.  He decided not to use them:

First Frontispiece (with the Monogram)/Premier frontispice (avec le monogramme), 1875, by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Second Frontispiece (Sitting on the Globe)/Deuxième frontispice (Assise sur le globe)

Second Frontispiece (Sitting on the Globe)/Deuxième frontispice (Assise sur le globe), 1875, by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

Third Frontispiece/Troisième frontispice, depicts a flat-footed woman from the back, holding up a placard reading, “Ten Etchings, J.J. Tissot.”  Her left bicep is not where it should be, and the shoulders of the woman lying on the globe beneath them are even less biologically plausible.

As a student in Paris, James Tissot’s first painting instructor was Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809 – 1864), who had studied under Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867).  Among Ingres’ many lush paintings of the female form was The Turkish Bath (1862).

The Turkish Bath (1862) by Jean-Auguste-Domini...

The Turkish Bath (1862) by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.  Louvre, Paris.   (Photo: Wikipedia)

Eve, by Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809 – 1864). (Photo: http://www.all-art.org)

But Flandrin, mainly celebrated for his monumental church murals in Paris, Lyon, and Nîmes, was so busy that he increasingly directed his students – including James Tissot and Henri Regnault (1843 –1871) – to the studio of his former student, Louis Lamothe (1822 –1869).  Lamothe must have learned little about painting nude women from Ingres.  Lamothe was described as a timid and sickly man who had never met his potential, but he was a clear and precise draftsman with a passion for detail.  One art historian has described Lamothe as a history painter “in a pious Christian tradition.”

Eventually, Tissot studied only under Lamothe and acknowledged that his own work was significantly influenced by Lamothe’s instruction.  Henri Regnault was highly capable of painting the nude – most often male – so Lamothe can’t be blamed for Tissot’s lack of skill painting human anatomy.  Regnaults’ work did not celebrate the female body, or depict nude women in a sensual way; his interest was in depicting other subjects (from mythology and history to horses and Oriental scenes).  See Regnault’s Thetis Giving the Weapons of Vulcan to Achilles (1866).

Anatomically perfect, as well as graceful and sensual, was The Birth of Venus (1863, 51 by 88 1/2/130 by 225 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris), by Alexandre Cabanel (1823 –1889)Exhibited at the 1863 Salon, it was such a hit that Cabanel, who that year served on the Salon jury and also was appointed to teach at the École des Beaux-Arts, sold the reproduction rights.  While the French government purchased the original for the collection of Empress Eugénie, Cabanel earned royalties on replicas and engravings.  The original also was displayed at the 1867 Paris International Exhibition.  [The Dahesh Museum of Art, New York owns a famous copy, c. 1864, which was sold as a Cabanel in 1870 for 20,000 francs.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns a second replica, commissioned in 1875 by American banker John Wolfe.]

The Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel, 1863 ...

The Birth of Venus (1863), by Alexandre Cabanel.  Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Bather (1870), by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 –1905) (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The first painting that Tissot’s friend Édouard Manet (1832 –1883) submitted to the Salon jury, The Absinthe Drinker (1859), showed a shaky understanding of anatomy, only part of the reason it was rejected.

By the time the rebellious Manet submitted The Luncheon on the Grass/ Le déjeuner sur l’herbe to the jury of the 1863 Salon, Alexandre Cabanel and William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 –1905) refused to allow him, as well as artists who later would become known as the Impressionists, from exhibiting their work.

The French government authorized the Salon des Refusés, where Manet showed his picture to a shocked public.

Meanwhile, he painted the perfect figure of Olympia (1863) – which caused a scandal as “filth” at the Salon in 1865.

 

 

Olympia (1863), Edouard Manet, Musée d'Orsay

Olympia (1863), by Édouard  Manet, Musée d’Orsay, Paris.  (Photo: Wikipedia)

A esposa de Candaules

Candaule’s Wife, by Edgar Degas.  Oil on canvas.  Private collection.  (Photo: Wikipedia)  Degas was about 22 when he painted this.  It was not exhibited.

Edgar Degas (1834 –1917), like Tissot and Regnault, studied for a time with Lamothe.  Degas made an unremarkable Salon début in 1865 with a historic picture, Scene of War in the Middle Ages (called Misfortunes of the City of Orléans after his death), featuring several nude figures.  In the 1860s, Degas pursued his interest in painting race horses, and in the 1870s, he began painting ballet dancers, but he did not begin his series of nude women bathing until the 1880s.

Gustave Courbet (1819 –77) routinely painted nude women who are alive and exuberant in  their sexuality.  While his first attempt to exhibit a nude was rejected for indecency by the Salon jury in 1864, Courbet’s Woman with the Parrot (1866) was accepted for display at the Salon in 1866.  It was a tremendous success. 

 

Woman_with_a_Parrot_MET_DT43

Woman with a Parrot (1866), by Gustave Courbet.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  (Photo:  Wiki)

Gustave Courbet - The Woman in the Waves - WGA5507

The Woman in the Waves (1868), by Gustave Courbet.  (Photo: Wikipedia)

Courbet painted several female nudes in 1868:  The Source, or Bather at the Source (Musée d’Orsay, Paris); Woman in the Waves (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), two versions of a Sleeping Woman; The Three Bathers (Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, France), and Nude Reclining by the Sea (Philadelphia Museum of Art).

The Beautiful Irishwoman/La Belle Irlandaise (1865), by Gustave Courbet. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

And, of course, in 1866, Courbet painted The Origin of the World, but it was a small picture (18 by 22 in./46 by 55 cm), painted just for Khalil Bey (1831 –1879), a Turkish diplomat.  (Bey, who collected erotic paintings, bought Ingres’ The Turkish Bath in 1865 and commissioned a version of Courbet’s The Sleepers in 1866.)  Courbet’s little picture was untitled at that time.  Bey kept it in a locked cabinet, showing it only to his friends – until he was bankrupted by his gambling debts, shortly after he purchased it from Courbet.  The picture was sold privately in January 1868 and was not exhibited publicly until shown at the Brooklyn Museum in New York in 1988.  It now is on display at the Musée d’Orsay, where it has been only since 1995.

Nude Standing, by James McNeill Whistler

Nude Standing, by James McNeill Whistler. http://www.wikigallery.org

As a student in Paris, Tissot’s American friend James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903), made an etching of a nude woman asleep in bed, Venus (1859, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.)  Later, living in London, Whistler made numerous studies of female nudes in chalk, crayon, pastel and watercolor, especially between 1868 and 1895, but despite his flamboyance and his mistresses, he had a Puritan streak and never publicly exhibited a painting of a nude woman.  He did, however, produce a design in 1868 including one female nude, as part of a plan for a frieze commissioned the previous year by Liverpool shipping magnate Frederick Richards Leyland (1832 –1892) – the same patron who asked Whistler for help decorating his London dining room, which became The Peacock Room.

After Tissot first achieved success in Paris in 1864, he was a bit of a dandy and a man about town.  But the few times he painted nude women, he didn’t get their anatomy quite right.  Either he didn’t study enough from live models (female models had to be hired independently), or he just didn’t have the knack for – or interest in – drawing nudes.

James Tissot grew up in Nantes, thirty-five miles from the Atlantic Ocean on the banks of the Loire River.  His mother and aunt were partners in a successful millinery company, and his father was a trader in fabrics and dress trimmings to retailers and exporters.  Tissot clearly enjoyed painting the sights of his youth as the son of prosperous merchants in a bustling seaport:  architecture, nautical pictures, men’s uniforms, and women’s gowns, coiffures and hats.  That was his talent, and what he was drawn to (pun intended).

Raised by a devout Catholic mother and a father whom he later described as “a Christian of the old-fashioned sort,” Tissot preferred to paint women fully dressed – in elegance.  Scholar Willard E. Misfeldt writes that years later when Tissot was confronted with a forgery of a nude woman, he indignantly said he never would have painted such a vulgar subject.

La cheminée/The Fireplace (1869), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 20 by 13 in. (50.80 by 33.02 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

But he did like to paint his well-dressed women flashing some ankle, and in Partie Carée –  exhibited at the Salon in 1870, he depicts the gentleman on the left grasping his date’s right breast, while the woman across from them downs a glass of champagne at the side of another delighted young man.

La Partie Carrée (1870), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 47 by 57 in. (119.5 by 144.5 cm.) Private Collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

And one of Tissot’s most vulgar images is also one of his most beautiful:  two elegant young women crouching on the floor, bustles aweigh.

Young Women Looking at Japanese Objects (1868), by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

 

© 2013 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. 

[*] Because it’s my birthday, my book is free to you today, April 1, 2013.

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.