Tag Archives: Louis Lamothe

The Missing Tissot Nudes

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “The Missing Tissot Nudes.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/the-missing-tissot-nudes/. <Date viewed.>

 

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.

On his own: Tissot as a Paris art student, 1855 — 1858

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “On his own: Tissot as a Paris art student, 1855 — 1858.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/on-his-own-tissot-as-a-paris-art-student-1856-1858/. <Date viewed.>

 

bingham_-_james_tissot_01When Jacques Joseph Tissot realized that what he really wanted was a career in art instead of architecture, his businessman father was less than thrilled.  Tissot’s father told him that if he was determined to pursue this unreliable profession, he was going to have to make it on his own – with no financial help.  Jacques’ mother was sympathetic and recommended her son to the 28-year-old Parisian painter Jules-Élie Delaunay (1828 – 1891), who was from Nantes.  Jacques left home at 19, in 1856 (i.e before he turned 20 that October).

Paris was over ten times the size of Nantes, and civic planner Baron Haussmann was just beginning the massive modernization of the dark, dirty and overgrown medieval city that would take place between 1853 and 1870.

Tissot started out renting a succession of student rooms in the Latin Quarter, earning an income drawing portraits of maids and hotel housekeepers for thirty or forty francs a head.  Some of his portraits fetched 60 or 100 francs each.

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

On January 26, 1857, he registered for permission to copy paintings at the Louvre.  He is thought to have met the American James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903), that year; the two art students reportedly met while copying Ingres’ 1819 Ruggiero Freeing Angelica side by side in the Luxembourg Museum.

Ruggiero Rescuing Angelica (cf. Category:Perse...

Ruggiero Rescuing Angelica (Photo: Wikipedia)

Whistler_James_Portrait_of_Whistler_with_Hat_(1858)Whistler was a hard-working, high-living dandy who had lived in Paris for two years and supplemented the decent living allowance from his mother by selling copies of paintings in the Louvre.  Whistler did not even attempt to enter the prestigious Académie des Beaux-Arts, where originality and self-expression were faults.  Instead, he took various drawing classes and enrolled as a student of the Swiss artist Charles Gleyre (1806 – 1874).  [Gleyre would eventually instruct Frédéric Bazille (1841 – 1870), Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899), Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919).]

On March 9, 1857, Tissot enrolled at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, though there is little documentation on the regularity of his attendance at classes, which included mathematics, anatomy and drawing, but not painting.  Like Élie Delaunay, who was now in Rome, Tissot studied painting independently under Flandrin and Lamothe.  Both men had been students of the great Neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867), and taught his principles.

Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809 – 1864) was a prolific portrait artist but was mainly celebrated for his monumental church murals in Paris, Lyon, and Nîmes.  His picture, Young Male Nude Seated beside the Sea (1836) was shown at the 1855 Universal Exhibition in Paris.  It was purchased in 1857 by Napoleon III’s civil list, and the emperor then donated it to the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris.  Flandrin’s St. Clair Healing the Blind, painted for the cathedral of Nantes, earned him a first-class medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1855.  As Flandrin was so busy, he increasingly directed his students to the studio of his former student, Louis Lamothe.

Flandrin,_Hippolyte_(1805-1864)_-_Jeune_homme_nu_assis.._1855_-_Louvre

Young Male Nude Seated Beside the Sea (1836), by Hippolyte Flandrin. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Louis Lamothe (1822 – 1869) 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.  Eventually, Tissot studied only under Lamothe and acknowledged that his own work was significantly influenced by Lamothe’s instruction.

Self-Portrait with White Collar (c. 1857), by Edgar Degas.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Lucy Paquette)

Self-Portrait with White Collar (c. 1857), by Edgar Degas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Photo by Lucy Paquette)

In 1859, Tissot would meet a student of Lamothe’s with whom he became close friends – Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917).  Degas, who had studied intermittently for four years under Lamothe, described him as “more idiotic than ever” and left the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1856.  Degas spent the next three years in central Italy, travelling while living with his prosperous family in Naples (Degas’ father – a banker – was from Naples, his mother from New Orleans).

Probably through Degas, Tissot would eventually meet the charismatic, blonde Édouard Manet (1832–1883), who in turn would introduce him to the 39-year-old bad-boy Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877).  Their revolutionary ideas would ultimately change Tissot’s work – and his life.

© Copyright Lucy Paquette 2012.  All rights reserved.

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

CH377762

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

Select Bibliography

Marshall, Nancy Rose and Malcolm Warner. James Tissot: Victorian Life/Modern Love. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999.

Matyjaszkiewicz, Krystyna, ed. James Tissot. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985, c. 1984 Barbican Art Gallery.

Misfeldt, Willard. “James Jacques Joseph Tissot: A Bio-Critical Study,” Ph.D. diss., Washington University. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International, 1971.

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

Warner, Malcolm. Tissot. London: The Medici Society Ltd. 1982.

Wentworth, Michael. James Tissot. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.

Wood, Christopher. Tissot: The Life and Work of Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836-1902. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd., 1986.