Tag Archives: John Everett Millais

James Tissot and the Pre-Raphaelites

There is very little documentation on James Tissot’s personality, behavior, and habits, including his interaction with the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  We can only extrapolate their relationships based on a few known facts.

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Ecce Ancilla Domini! (The Annunciation, 1849-50), by D. G. Rossetti (Photo:  Wikipedia.org)

The leading members of the P.R.B., all ambitious art students in their early 20s, were William Holman Hunt (1827–1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), and John Everett Millais (1829–1896), and the rebellious aim of their secret society was to create a new British art.  Rather than paint mannered historical or dull genre scenes, they wanted to return to the sincerity, minute detail, and luminous palette of medieval and early Renaissance painting.  They began with an attempt to revive religious art but quickly resorted to literary subject matter.

The first P.R.B. works appeared at the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1849, when James Tissot (1836 – 1902) was 13 years old.  In six years, he moved to Paris, and became an Academically-trained painter, favoring medieval subjects.  He was greatly influenced by the work of the Belgian painter Hendrik Leys (1815  1869).  Leys’ painting, The Trental Mass of Berthal de Haze – replete with numerous characters enacting a medieval drama against a minutely-detailed architectural background  won a gold medal at the 1855 Paris International Exhibition.

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A Walk in the Snow, by James Tissot

In 1862, Tissot traveled to London, where the first exhibition of his work was not at the Royal Academy but the International Exhibition.  Tissot showed one of his début paintings from the 1859 Salon, giving his medieval picture the English title, A Walk in the Snow.

He also must have met Britain’s most popular painter, John Everett Millais, who had moved to London with his wife, Effie.  With their growing family to provide for, Millais found a steady source of income drawing illustrations, for periodicals such as Once a Week and The Cornhill Magazine as well as Tennyson’s Poems (1857) and Anthony Trollope’s novel Framley Parsonage (1860).

At the 1862 London International Exhibition, the retired first British Minister to Japan, Sir Rutherford Alcock (1809-1897) showed his collection at his Japanese Pavilion.  It was a sensation.  With the signing of the first commercial treaty between Japan and America in 1854, more than 200 years of Japanese seclusion came to an end.   In Paris, a host of import shops cropped up, and like Alcock, those with the means could collect exotic treasures – handcrafted pottery, lacquer, bamboo and ivory – that seemed even more exquisite compared to the Industrial Revolution’s mass-produced wares.

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Young Women Looking at Japanese Articles (1869), by James Tissot.  (Image Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library)

Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who lived in Chelsea near James McNeill Whistler, tried to shop for Japanese items in Paris in November, 1864.  But, as he wrote to his mother from Paris, he “found all the costumes were being snapped up by a French artist, Tissot, who it seems is doing three Japanese pictures, which the mistress of the shop described to me as the three wonders of the world, evidently in her opinion quite throwing Whistler into the shade.”

Rossetti’s comment indicates that James Tissot was unknown to him prior to this, and that, with resentment at losing out on these treasures to him, he imagined Tissot was an inferior artist.

However, Rossetti became an admirer of Tissot’s work within months, when a book was published that included illustrations by several artists, including Millais and Tissot.  On February 3, 1865, Rossetti wrote to his friend, Alexander Macmillan, “I have seen the frontispiece & vignette to Tom Taylor’s Breton Ballads [Ballads and Songs of Brittany] designed by Tissot, which are admirable things. Could you as their publisher let me have a proof of each separate from the work?”  Macmillan made Rossetti a gift of one of Tissot’s drawings, either The Crusader’s Wife  or the one for the frontispiece.

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Apple Blossoms (Spring, 1859), J.E. Millais. (Photo: Wikipedia)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tissot continued to be inspired by Millais.  At the Paris Salon of 1865, though one of Tissot’s medieval pictures was a disappointment to the critics, his second picture, Spring,  received some praise because of its similarities to Millais’ Apple Blossoms (Spring), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1859.

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Portrait of Effie Millais (1873), by J.E. Millais (Photo:  Wiki)

In early June, 1871, Tissot fled Paris, along with thousands of others, after the Bloody Week, when French government troops brutally suppressed the Commune uprising that followed the Franco-Prussian War.  He arrived in London with 100 francs in his pocket, but he had had enough time to pack a few drawings before he left Paris:  on June 19, 1871, he dedicated an exquisite graphite rendering of a reclining French soldier at his ease with a rifle to Effie Millais (1828 – 1897).  Tissot had fought bravely in the Battle of Malmaison, west of Paris, on October 21, 1870; this drawing is inscribed to Effie, “a la Malmaison/le 22 Oct 1870.”

With the help of a handful of friends, including Millais, Tissot proceeded to rebuild his career in London.

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A Huguenot, on St Bartholomew’s Day, refusing to shield himself from danger by wearing the Roman Catholic badge (1851-52), by J.E. Millais.  (Photo:  Wiki)

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Les Adieux (The Farewells, 1871), by James Tissot. (Photo courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Royal Academy exhibition in 1872, Tissot showed Les Adieux (The Farewells, 1871).  A sentimental costume piece calculated to appeal to the British public, it clearly was inspired by Millais’ A Huguenot (1851-52).  Neither the critics nor the public objected to the French artist’s emulation of a Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece; rather, Tissot’s painting was so popular that it was reproduced as a steel engraving by John Ballin and published by Pilgeram and Lefèvre in 1873.

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The Hammock (1879), by James Tissot.  (Image courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library)

Later in the decade, when Tissot ceased exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy and instead displayed it at the innovative, elegant new Grosvenor Gallery, his supreme talent was acknowledged, but his paintings were considered a perversion of Pre-Raphaelitism:

“Mr. James Tissot, one of the eccentrics of the Grosvenor school, has sent in eight pictures.  In six or seven of them the leading figure is a girl in a hammock or in a swing, or lying down.  She is always surrounded by green trees and green grass, so green that you have to hunt for the figures, and so clever that you want to have Mr. Tissot sent for that you may call him names for prostituting his talents to a silly affectation of realism.   Pre-Raphaelitism gone mad is the motive power of this wild man of the studio.  Whistler has not quite satisfied us whether he can paint or not; but under Tissot’s eccentricities lurks a laughing giant.”   The New York Times, May 12, 1879

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Pan and Psyche (1872-74), by Edward Burne-Jones.  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

In an 1896 letter to Helen (May) Gaskell, Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898), who had been a close follower of Rossetti, described Tissot’s paintings of “ladies in hammocks, showing legs & ladies smoking – and all manner of things not tending to edification.”  Burne-Jones had met and fell in love with May, an unhappily married Society hostess, in 1892.

Burne-Jones’ wife of thirty-eight years, Georgiana (1840 – 1920), wrote to Tissot after her husband’s death, asking if they had ever met or if there had ever been any correspondence between the two artists.  In January, 1899, she received a letter from him with a “beautiful answer” to her questions:

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Georgiana Burne-Jones, c. 1882.  (Photo:  Wikimedia)

“I am back from America and upon my return I find your letter which I hasten to answer. I did not know your husband very well.  I only remember that around 1875 I went to see him; he received me with great simplicity, and I judged the man according to what I saw in his studio – that is, great things on the easel rendered with a touching primitive simplicity.  I felt the heights where he hovered and the materiality where I struggled more and more; all this intimidated me so much that I was not going to see him anymore. He grew so much and I left England. Since then I have made this Life of Christ, I know he has been to see it.  I knew he liked it, and I would have a really good time seeing him on one of my trips to London when I learned of his death. He never wrote to me, otherwise I would put at your disposal what would remain of this great artist, one of the purest glories of your country. ”

Tissot, one of the most self-confident, ambitious and materially successful artists of his time, offered these effusive sentiments to a widow tasked with writing her husband’s biography.

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The Finding of the Savior in the Temple (1854–60), by William Holman Hunt.  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

As for the third leading founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, William Holman-Hunt wrote in his memoir, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Vol. II:

The Franco-German war had brought many French artists to England, some of whom had returned to Paris, while others remained here.  One evening at a small bachelors’ gathering at Millais’ studio, a foreigner, being told that I had just returned from Jerusalem, asked if I were Holman-Hunt, the painter of “The Finding of Christ in the Temple[1854-55], which he had lately seen in Mr. Charles Mathews’ collection. He said that he had admired it and my principle of work so much that he had resolved some day to go to the East and paint on the same system.  I then learnt that this artist was young Tissot.

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The Youth of Jesus (1886-94), by James Tissot.  (Photo:  Wikiart.org)

Either this is true, and “young Tissot,” finding himself rebuilding his reputation in London at age 35, taking career cues from the practical, businesslike Millais, dreamed of imitating Holman-Hunt’s artistic quest in the Holy Land – or, more likely, Holman-Hunt as an elderly man was burnishing his reputation by taking credit for inspiring Tissot’s highly lucrative Bible illustrations, researched in Palestine after a “spiritual awakening” in 1885 and published to worldwide acclaim in 1896 and 1897.  Tissot’s series of 365 gouache illustrations for the Life of Christ were shown to wildly enthusiastic crowds in Paris (1894 and 1895), London (1896) and New York (1898), after which they toured North America until 1900, bringing in $100,000 in entrance fees; the Brooklyn Museum then acquired them by public subscription for $60,000.  After Tissot’s death in 1902, his assistants completed his Old Testament project, which was published in 1904.  Holman-Hunt published his autobiography in 1905.

And so, from James Tissot’s earliest years as a painter until his death, the Pre-Raphaelites were intertwined with him and his success.

© 2018 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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

Related Posts:

London Début: Tissot explores a new art market, 1862

Ready and waiting: Tissot’s entrée, 1865

The competition: Tissot’s friends Whistler, Degas, Manet, Courbet, Alma-Tadema & Millais in 1866

Welcome to the Royal Academy Exhibition: London, 1870 (Part I)

London, June 1871

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

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

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

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

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

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

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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)

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

The Artists’ Rifles, London

Lord Ranelagh at the volunteer gathering in Brighton, 1863. Illustrated London News. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

By the summer of 1859 – as the ambitious 23-year-old Jacques Joseph Tissot, a member of the National Guard in Paris, was making his Salon début under the name James Tissot – the British feared a French invasion under Napoléon III because of an assassination attempt on the Emperor and Empress on January 14, 1858, with bombs made and tested in England by an Italian revolutionary, Felice Orsini (1819 – 1858).  A year later, on April 29, 1859, France and the Austrian Empire went to war.  On May 12, 1859, the British government authorized the formation of volunteer rifle corps to be called out “in case of actual invasion, or of appearance of an enemy in force on the coast, or in case of rebellion arising in either of these emergencies.”  By the end of the year, the volunteer corps comprised thousands of patriotic men all over Great Britain, and was said to be “a force potentially the strongest defence of England.”

The idea of a special corps of artists was conceived by Edward Sterling, an art student and ward of Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle.  In May, 1859, Sterling held a meeting at his studio of fellow students in the life class of Carey’s School of Art, Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury.  The rooms of artist Arthur Lewis (1824 – 1901) in Jermyn Street became a gathering-place for those who pursued the plan.

The Artists’ Rifles was established on February 28, 1860 as the “The 38th Middlesex (Artists’) Rifle Volunteers.”  The Corps met to elect officers at the St. George Street studio of portraitist Henry Wyndham Phillips (1820 – 1868), who became the regiment’s first commander.  [Phillips also served for thirteen years as Secretary of the Artists’ General Benevolent Institution, founded in 1814 to assist professional artists in financial distress due to illness, accident or old age.]  The regiment initially was headquartered at the Argyll Rooms, a notorious pleasure establishment in Windmill Street, just north of Piccadilly.  Members met for preliminary drills in plain clothes, learning the goose step, the “balance-step without gaining ground,” and other rudimentary soldiering skills such as musketry – how to use a ramrod.  The government had purchased Burlington House, a Palladian mansion in Piccadilly, in 1854, and the Artists’ Rifles was granted space in it until 1868, when the Royal Academy established itself there.  From 1868 until 1889, when members built a permanent headquarters at 17 Duke’s Road, Euston, the Artists’ Rifles met and drilled at various addresses in central London.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, October 7, 1863 (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Founding members of the Artists’ Rifles included painters George Frederic Watts (1817 – 1904), William Cave Thomas (c. 1820 – 1876), William Holman Hunt (1827 – 1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882), John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896), Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898), William Morris (1834 – 1896), Edward Poynter (1836 – 1919), and the 22-year-old Valentine (Val) Cameron Prinsep (1838 – 1904).  Members nominated friends as recruits.

James Tissot fled to London in late May or early June of 1871, after serving as a volunteer sharpshooter in the Artists’ Brigade in war-torn Paris.  During the decade that Tissot rebuilt his career in England, members of the Artists Rifles included Field Talfourd (1815-1874), portraitist Lowes Cato Dickinson (1819 – 1908), author and critic  John Ruskin (1819 – 1900), the German-born painter Carl Haag (1820 – 1915), Ford Madox Brown (1821 – 1893), George Price Boyce (1826 – 1897), Robert Braithwaite Martineau (1826 – 1869), William Wilthieu Fenn (1827 – 1906), portraitist Henry Tanworth Wells (1828 – 1903), John Bagnold Burgess (1829 –1897),  Edwin Longsden Long (1829 –  1891), John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829 – 1908), Frederic Leighton (1830 – 1896), watercolorist and War Office clerk Joseph Middleton Jopling (1831 – 1884), Arthur Hughes (1832 –1915), George Vicat Cole (1833 – 1893), Henry Holiday (1839 –1927), Charles (Carlo) Edward Perugini (1839 – 1918), Simeon Solomon (1840 – 1905), Marcus Stone (1840 – 1921), Frederick Walker (1840 – 1875), Albert Joseph Moore (1841 –1893), William Blake Richmond (1842 – 1921), Samuel Luke Fildes (1843 – 1927) and his friend Henry Woods (1846 – 1921), Walter William Ouless (1848–1933), and John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917).

Charles Edward Perugini (1855), by Frederic Leighton (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Frederick Walker (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Robert Braithwaite Martineau (1860) by William Holman Hunt (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Self-portrait, William Holman Hunt (1867) (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

220px-Wynfield,_David_Wilkie_(1837-1887),_Simeon_Solomon

Simeon Solomon in Oriental costume, photographed by David Wilkie Wynfield (Photo: Wiki)

Members of the “The St. John’s Wood Clique” – a group of gentlemen painters who resided in that affluent suburb north of London – joined the Artists’ Rifles, including Frederick Goodall (1822 – 1904), Henry Stacy Marks (1829 – 1898), John Evan Hodgson (1831 – 1895), Philip Hermogenes Calderon (1833 – 1898), George Adolphus Storey (1834 – 1919), George Dunlop Leslie (1835 –1921), William Frederick Yeames (1835 –1918) and the photographer who recorded images of many of the artists of his day, David Wilkie Wynfield (1837–1887).

William Frederick Yeames in fancy dress (c. 1860), by David Wilkie Wynfield (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

George Frederic Watts in fancy costume, by David Wilkie Wynfield (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Valentine Cameron Prinsep, by David Wilkie Wynfield (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Self-portrait, David Wilkie Wynfield (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Sculptors who were members of the Artists’ Rifles included Thomas Woolner (1825 –1892), Charles Bell Birch (1832 – 1893), Thomas Brock (1847 – 1922) and William “Hamo” Thornycroft (1850 – 1925).  The regiment also included illustrators and engravers, architects, musicians, vocalists, composers, engineers, actors, authors, journalists, and at least one caricaturist, John Leech (1817 – 1864).  Drama critic and author Edward Dutton Cook (1829 – 1883) was a member, as was poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 – 1909).  While French-born photographer Camille Silvy (1834 – 1910) lived in London from about 1859 to 1868 and became a member of the Artists’ Rifles, there is no indication that James Tissot joined.

Caricature of Algernon Charles Swinburne, Vanity Fair, November 21, 1874. Caption reads, “Before sunrise.” (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

There were two classes of membership in the Artists’ Rifles:  active members enrolled in military service paid an entrance fee of 10s.6d. and an annual subscription of £1.1s., providing their own uniform and firearms (subject to approval of the War Office for the sake of uniformity).  Honorary Members were not committed to military service.  They paid an additional 10s.6d. entrance fee and an annual subscription of £2.2s. (or a one-time payment of £10.10s.).

Members served with various levels of commitment.  In Katey: The Life and Loves of Dickens’s Artist Daughter (2006, Doubleday U.K.), author Lucinda Hawksley notes that Carlo Perugini, who joined the Artists’ Rifles in 1860 and served for twelve years, sent the occasional reminder letter to members who missed drill sessions.  To be considered active by the government, volunteer riflemen needed to attend eight days of drill and exercise in four months, or 24 days within a year.

English: Photograph of Sir John Everett Millai...

John Everett Millais, 1854 (Photo: Wikipedia)

Painter William Wilthieu Fenn, who became blind and was grateful for Millais’ kindness and practical assistance in alerting his friends to his inability to earn a living, later recalled that “Millais never quite took to” volunteering.  The drills at Wimbledon, where the National Rifle Competition was held, amused Millais, Fenn wrote, “but he tired of it soon, I suspect, and was at any rate very irregular in his attendances.”  Millais displayed “a flash of enthusiasm” when rifles were first served out, “but it was not sustained.”  Fennn had no memory of Millais ever wearing a uniform:  “I don’t think he ever did more than order one, even if he did that.  The discipline, loose though it was in all conscience at that date, seemed to irk him; it was not consonant with his painter’s disposition, and besides, it made too long-drawn demands upon his time, hard worker that he was, especially after his family increased as it was rapidly doing by 1860.”  Fenn added, “Beyond a few  visits to the camp at Wimbledon [in 1861], and a few shots at the targets of various ranges, soldiering did not suit him, and he very soon, I suspect, vanished from the ranks of the active volunteers.”  But Millais and fellow rifleman Joe Jopling – who won the Queen’s Prize at Wimbledon in 1861 for his bulls-eye – became great friends during this time.

Officers were drawn from the ranks.  Frederic Leighton, who joined on October 5, 1860, was promoted to command A Company within a few months.  Henry Wyndham Phillips died in 1868, and on January 6, 1869, Leighton was elected to command the Artists’ Rifles.  He was promoted from Captain to Major, and in 1875, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.  Three years later, Leighton was elected President of the Royal Academy, and he resigned as Commanding Officer of the Artists’ Rifles in 1883.  [At his funeral in 1896, his coffin was carried into St. Paul’s Cathedral past an honor guard of The Artists’ Rifles.]

Frederic Leighton in Renaissance costume, by David Wilkie Wynfield (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The Artists’ Rifles regimental badge (Photo: artistsriflesassociation.org)

The regimental badge was designed by another member, Leonard Charles Wyon (1826 – 1891), the Queen’s medallist.  It depicted the profiles of Mars, the god of War, and Minerva, the goddess of Wisdom.  The men recited a regimental rhyme:  “Mars, he was the God of war, and didn’t stop at trifles. Minerva was a bloody whore. So hence The Artists’ Rifles.”

Monet The Thames at Westminster 1871 Westminster

The Thames below Westminster (c. 1871), by Claude Monet (Photo: Wikipedia)

Ironically, the “French invasion” from which the Artists’ Rifles were protecting Britain turned out to be artistic, as many painters – including Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro – fled Paris in 1870 and 1871 and sought success in London’s competitive art market.  With the exception of French etcher Alphonse Legros (1837 – 1911), who emigrated to England in 1863, married an English girl in 1864, and assimilated easily into British circles, these foreign artists were not exactly welcomed with open arms by the British public nor the close-knit community of painters who bonded in the Artists’ Rifles as well as in London’s many gentleman’s clubs.

In fact, the members of the Artists’ Rifles so enjoyed socializing with each other that, in 1863, they established the Arts Club in a beautifully preserved Adams-style mansion at 17 Hanover Square.

The Artists’ Rifles served with great distinction in the Boer War and The Great War.  The apostrophe was dropped in 1937, when the regiment’s title was officially simplified to “The Artists Rifles.”  During the Second World War, the regiment functioned as an Officer Cadet Training Unit, supplying officers to other regiments.  The regiment was disbanded in 1945 but was re-established two years later as the Special Air Service Regiment, now the 21 Special Air Service Regiment (Artists) (Reserve).

For more information on The Artists’ Rifles, past and present, see:

Artists Rifles Association

Artists Rifles Clubhouse

A History of The Artists Rifles 1859–1947, by Barry Gregory (2006, Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books)

Speaker, writer and self-described “thoroughly good egg and ex-soldier,” Patrick Baty:

© 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. 

View my videos, “The Strange Career of James Tissot” (Length:  2.33 minutes) and

Louise Jopling and James Tissot” (Length:  2.42 minutes).

CH377762

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

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

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

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

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.

Mrs. Grundy Objects: Millais at The Royal Academy Exhibition, London, 1870 (Part III)

J.E. Millais (Wikimedia.org)

John Everett Millais, R.A. (1829 – 1896) was Great Britain’s Golden Boy; he had begun his studies at the Royal Academy when he was only eleven years old and first exhibited there with a painting he completed at sixteen:  Pizarro Seizing the Inca of Peru.  Two years later, in 1848, he was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and as he moved past that youthful rebellion, Millais was made a full member of the Royal Academy in 1863.  But by 1870, Millais’ public was complaining that he was veering too much toward portraiture at the annual Royal Academy exhibitions.

This year, Millais pulled out all the stops; The Athenaeum called his works “unusually numerous and powerful” – six in all.  And for the first [and only] time, Millais presented a painting of a nude woman.  The life-sized The Knight Errant, painted in just six weeks, showed a knight in shining armor rescuing a nude maiden bound to a tree.  The Athenaeum wrote, “the woman [clothed only in her golden hair] is not over pure in character or refined in expression, somewhat feverish looking.”

The Knight Errant (1870), by J.E. Millais [the revised, “modest” version]. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Fata Morgana, by George Frederic Watts (Wikimedia.org)

The Architect praised it to the skies:  “Mr. Millais has this year reached a point to which he had never before attained,” called his Knight Errant, “a work which we have no hesitation in determining as the grandest that this artist has yet produced.”  But Millais’ very realistic nude damsel-in-distress glancing demurely in the direction of her knight errant was offensive to many.  Millais was considered by his countrymen to be “a great jolly Englishman…Anglo-Saxon from skin to core” — but even he could not get away with nudity involving a female perceived to be immodest and a male together on the same canvas.  The Art Journal wrote that “the manner is almost too real for the treatment of the nude.”  Weirdly, George Frederic Watts’ Fata Morgana, displayed by the side of this painting by Millais, didn’t cause similar consternation although it portrays a seduction: Watt’s nude sorceress of Arthurian legend is making direct eye contact with the knight, while he is gawping her backside.  Is the difference in the drapery, or purely in Millais’ skill at painting female flesh?

Millais’ youngest son and biographer, John Guille Millais (1865 – 1931), later called The Knight Errant “one of the finest examples of his art; and, to my mind, a more modest or more beautiful work was never limned; but the Pharisaic spirit of the age was against it.  Mrs. Grundy was shocked, or pretended to be, and in consequence it remained long on the artist’s hands, no one daring to buy it.  Millais originally painted the distressed lady who had been robbed, stripped, and bound by the thieves, as looking at the spectator, and I remember well this position of the head in the picture as it hung on the drawing-room walls at Cromwell Place; but after a while he came to the conclusion that the beautiful creature would look more modest if her head were turned away, so he took the canvas down and repainted it as we see it now.”

The Martyr of the Solway, by J.E. Millais (Wikimedia.org)

[In fact, Millais cut out the woman’s head and torso and sewed them into another canvas exhibited in 1872 as The Martyr of the Solway.  Millais sold the revised, more modest version of the Knight Errant in 1874.  The resulting position of the damsel’s head is reminiscent of Edward Poynter’s nude Andromeda, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1870.]

Millais, “never stronger than now” according to The Saturday Review, “paints the picture most talked about, that of The Marchioness of Huntly” – a life-sized wedding portrait of Amy, the daughter of the Conservative MP for East Cheshire, William Cunliffe-Brooks (1819 – 1900), who married Scottish Liberal politician Charles, 11th Marquis of Huntley (1847 – 1937) in 1869.  The critic continued, “And yet the picture is rather too showy to stand well in the historic future; works of enduring reputation have usually an element of severity and profundity.”  The Architect, however, persisted in its fulsome praise of Millais:  “The Marchioness of Huntly is, to our thinking, the best portrait in the Academy.”

The Marchioness of Huntly, by J.E. Millais (www.gogmsite.net)

A Widow’s Mite, by J.E. Millais (flickr)

Millais also exhibited A Widow’s Mite and A Flood, a reference to Charles Reads’ 1870 novel Put Yourself in His Place, in which the reservoir dam bursts (as it did in Sheffield in 1864), wreaking destruction while one baby in its wooden cradle floats downstream.  The Athenaeum approved:  “It is impossible to find fault with this picture; in its way it is perfect.”

Millais’ The Boyhood of Raleigh was described in The Athenaeum as “a work of extraordinary power.”  It depicts Sir Walter Raleigh, the Elizabethan explorer, as a boy captivated by the exotic tales of a sailor’ adventures.  Millais credited his wife, Effie, for the young models: “She has been good enough to produce numerous attractive and cooperative models, as you see.  Everett sat for Raleigh [on the left; he was 14], and George [who was 13] for the other boy.”

English: The Boyhood of Raleigh, 1871

The Boyhood of Raleigh, by J.E. Millais (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Architect reported in May, 1870 that the paintings of Mr. Millais at this year’s Royal Academy earned him over £11,000, and that he was paid £2,000 for one of the two portraits he exhibited (likely the The Marchioness of Huntly rather than the smaller John Kelk *). 

Charles Dickens died on June 9, 1870; of all the artists in Britain, it was Millais who drew a sketch of the great man on his death bed.

Millais’ father passed away on January 28, 1870, having lived to see the brilliant success of his son, now only 41 years old.

* John Kelk (1816-1886), an associate of Millais’ friend John Fowler, was a self-made civil engineering contractor who constructed projects including the 1851 Great Exhibition, the Victoria Station and Pimlico Railway, the Albert Memorial, Farringdon Street Station, the Smithfield Goods Depot and Meat Market.  Kelk, who purchased Millais’ oil paintings, Swallow!  Swallow!  Flying South (1864) and The Minuet (1866), was the Conservative MP for Harwich from 1865-68.  He was knighted in 1874.

© 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. 

Related blog post:  Of Snobbery, Death & Parlormaids: Millais, Alma-Tadema & Whistler, 1869

Exhibition notes:

Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848-1900
February 17–May 19, 2013 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The first major survey of the art of the Pre-Raphaelites to be shown in the United States features some 130 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative art objects.

For more information, visit http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/preraphaelites.shtm

and

                                 Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity                                                                          February 26 – May 27, 2013 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

A revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries. Some eighty major figure paintings, seen in concert with period costumes, accessories, fashion plates, photographs, and popular prints, will highlight the vital relationship between fashion and art during the pivotal years, from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world.

 For more information, visit http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions

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.

Watch my new videos:

The Strange Career of James Tissot” (2:33 minutes)

and

Louise Jopling and James Tissot” (2:42 minutes)

Free on January 17 & 18, 2013!

At the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk, Virginia with an 1865 Tissot.

At the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk, Virginia with an 1865 Tissot, Marguerite in Church.

Welcome to my blog!  I’m continuing to chronicle the early years of French painter James Tissot (1836-1902) and his friends Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), John Everett Millais (1829-1896) and Lourens Tadema (later Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1836-1912).

 

 

CH377762

My new release, The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, illustrated with 17 full-color, high-resolution fine art images courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library, is free on January 17 and 18, 2013 at http://amzn.to/RBCZiu.

You can download the novel to your Kindle, and if you don’t have one, you can download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and Kindle Cloud Reader from amazon.com.  For links in the U.K., Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan, click my blog’s tab “Order Now.”  

You will find a recent review at the bottom of this post.

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Please leave a comment to let me know what you find most enjoyable on my blog, and tell me a bit about yourself.  I invite you to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot – and to share your review on my page on amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE, or at http://www.goodreads.com/.

Lucy Paquette

© 2013 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The Captain and the Mate, (1873), by James Tissot.  Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, © 2012

The Captain and the Mate, (1873), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” © 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars Brush Strokes on the Artist’s Life Canvas January 14, 2013

By Nan R. Cooper                               www.amazon.com       Format:Kindle Edition

As an admirer of splendid French art of the 19th and 20th centuries, I often stop to read the details of a particularly compelling painting when visiting art museums. Yet the museum experience scarcely conveys the forces surrounding the artist – world events, personal dramas, the larger societal and political stages – that inform the art. Lucy Paquette’s The Hammock is a lovingly, intelligently rendered story that effectively portrays the teeming, changing world that forged James Tissot’s vision as an artist.

We learn not only of his military service to France during the Franco-Prussian War, but also of his dogged commitment to rebuild his career and fame in Britain after fleeing the violent throes erupting throughout Paris; we learn of the bitter betrayals and jealousies among the artists of his day, many of whom were friends or acquaintances. We learn of his romantic liaisons, desires and disappointments, of his ambitions and heartbreaks as he struggles to achieve critical acclaim (from a morally corrupt but powerful critic) while earning vast sums from the sale of his paintings and prints, often to the “lower class” moneyed tradesmen in a socially stratified British society.

Ms. Paquette, who painstakingly researched the life of James Tissot, has filled her novel with lyrical, insightful, lively dialogue that breathes life into its subjects and allows the reader to experience the social, political and cultural transformations and upheavals that shaped Tissot’s world. Importantly, we meet the mysterious muse, Kathleen, who played a pivotal role in his life. It is a richly envisioned world, and Ms. Paquette is to be commended for her painterly language and smart storytelling: The Hammock is a satisfying and enlightening read. I recommend it!

Others in Tissot’s circle: Morisot, Courbet, Alma-Tadema, Whistler & Millais in 1868

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot (Photo: Wikipedia)

James Tissot, handsome and successful at 31, still was unmarried.

In July 1868, the 36-year-old, married Manet was introduced to the elegant and intense 27-year-old Berthe Morisot (1841-95) and her older sister, Edma, who would soon be married.  By autumn, Berthe – only sometimes accompanied by her mother – was making regular visits to his studio to model for The Balcony.  Of her image in this painting, she later remarked, “I am more strange than ugly.”

Berthe, whose family was wealthy and distinguished, had been painting for a decade.  She made her Salon début in 1864 with two landscapes and had exhibited each year, though her work was hung high on the wall and hard to see.  The Comte de Nieuwerkerke was the president of the Salon jury in 1868, and he did not care for landscapes any more than he did for the new, modern subject matter infiltrating the Salon walls as never before.  Now, four years later, Berthe showed The Pont-Aven River at Roz-Bras, and she was considered a serious enough painter to be noticed in print by Émile Zola.    

Courbet exhibited only two pictures at the Salon:  Roebuck on the Alert (1867, Musée d’Orsay) and The Beggar’s Alms (Glasgow City Council Museums).  But he produced a great many paintings this year, including several nudes:  The Woman in the Waves, two versions of a Sleeping Woman, The Three Bathers, The Source, and Nude Reclining by the Sea.  Courbet’s 1868 landscapes included The Silent River, Siesta at Haymaking Time, The Bridge at Nahin, The Deer Shelter, and The Stream of The Puits Noir at Ornans.

Gustave Courbet - The Source - WGA05506

The Source, by Gustave Courbet (Photo: Wikipedia)

In addition, Courbet painted a few portraits and illustrated two anti-clerical pamphlets published in Brussels.  That summer, he sent eleven pictures, including The Return from the Conference (1863), to an exhibition in Ghent, and he exhibited in Besançon and Le Havre, where he had eight pictures.  He also was busy chasing down several of his paintings which had been stolen from various places including London.

Tissot’s Dutch friend Lourens Tadema (later Lawrence Alma-Tadema) exhibited his huge picture, The siesta (No 101) at the Salon in 1868 – because the owner of the one he wished to send, Phidias and the frieze of the Parthenon, Athens (No 104), would not allow it to be shown in public.  These were among the forty-eight paintings commissioned in 1867 by Tadema’s agent, Ernest Gambart.  Others completed this year including A Roman art lover: (Silver statue) (No 108), Flowers (No 105), and A Birth Chamber, Seventeenth Century.

English: Lawrence Alma-Tadema's art

A Roman art lover, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Photo: Wikipedia)

In London, at the Royal Academy in 1868, Millais exhibited Stella; Rosalind and Celia; A Souvenir of VelasquezSisters, a portrait of his three beautiful young daughters, Effie, Mary and Carrie; and Greenwich Pensioners at the Tomb of Nelson (originally titled Pilgrims to St. Paul’s).  Effie felt it would be important to posterity to record the details of each of her husband’s paintings over the years, and she had been writing a book since their marriage.  But Millais made fun of it, and she reluctantly gave it up this year.  Millais spent the autumn shooting in Scotland, as usual, with his friends the new Liberal MP for Oxford Sir William Harcourt (1827-1904), British painter Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-73), and millionaire Underground Railway engineer Sir John Fowler (1817-1898).

As for Whistler, he exhibited nothing in 1868; he was discouraged.  When his mother left on a short trip to the United States to visit her family, he took the opportunity to get away from Chelsea to stay with a friend in Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, a more quiet and conducive place to work.  However, his friend thought Whistler’s seven-month stay was very unproductive:  “His talk about his own work revealed a very different man to me from the self-satisfied man he is usually believed to have been.”   Whistler worked hard on several different projects during this time, but did not finish a thing.

Tissot’s mother had died seven years ago, too soon to see her hard-working, talented and ambitious son rising to still greater heights.

James Tissot - A Widow

A Widow, by James Tissot (Photo: Wikipedia)

© 2012 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. 

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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.