Tag Archives: Marquis de Miramon

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

James Tissot executed his oil paintings with meticulous attention to detail, a characteristic of his temperament as well as his academic training in Paris, and he often painted a small preparatory study to work out his composition, palette, and use of light.

In fact, when the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut acquired a small painting in 1941, thought to be the work of an Impressionist painter, it later was recognized as a study for Tissot’s monumental 1865 family portrait, “The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their Children,” which had remained in the family until 2006.  That year, it was acquired by the Musée d’Orsay, and the first time it was exhibited publicly since 1866 was with the blockbuster exhibition, Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity, which opened at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, from September 25, 2012 to January 20, 2013, traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from February 26 through May 27 and closed at the Art Institute of Chicago from June 26 to September 22, 2013.

Tissot’s study has been displayed by the Wadsworth Atheneum only since the museum’s recent renovation.

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Study for the Family of the Marquis de Miramon (1865), by James Tissot. Oil on paper adhered to panel. 13.25 by 16.5 in. (33.7 by 42 cm). The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. (Photo copyright Lucy Paquette, 2016).

The portrait depicts René de Cassagne de Beaufort, marquis de Miramon (1835 – 1882) and his wife, née Thérèse Feuillant (1836 – 1912), posing with their first two children, Geneviève (1863 – 1924) and Léon (1861 – 1884) on the terrace of the château de Paulhac in Auvergne.

A comparison of the study with the finished painting gives us insight into Tissot’s working methods.

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The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their Children (1865), by James Tissot. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo copyright Lucy Paquette, copyright 2015)

Tissot, then 29 years old, made the study with a general idea of the composition, the setting, the poses and costumes of his subjects, and his palette of greys, blues, and white enlivened with touches of red.

In the study, as in the completed portrait, the tall and elegant Marquise stands on the left of the canvas holding her daughter, Geneviève, and the Marquis is seated to their right in a casual pose.

img_5060-copyright-lucy-paquette-2016-2img_2578-copyright-lucy-paquette-2015-4The most noticeable difference in the finished portrait is that it is considerable lighter, brighter and more lively than the study, which is overall quite dark and stilted.  Tissot achieved this effect partly through depicting more open sky through the trees, especially in the center of the painting and behind the heads of the Marquise and Geneviève.  Their two faces, turned toward the viewer, are now closer together, providing a highly lit focal point.

And though the Marquise wears a black bolero in the finished portrait, rather than the blue bodice in the study, Geneviève’s figure is much brighter, and the Marquise’s magnificent silk skirt glows and shimmers with light.  Tissot decided to extend the final canvas out to the left to accommodate the full sweep of her train.

img_5062-copyright-lucy-paquette-2016-2img_2578-copyright-lucy-paquette-2015-5The Marquis’ dark brown lounge suit in the study is replaced with a lighter grey one — and the red stockings Tissot initially considered for color were replaced by tall black leather riding boots.  Color instead is provided by the red flower blossoms at the center of the composition, and the tasteful pink rose in the Marquis’ lapel.  Tissot exchanged the Marquis’ broad blue tie for a more subtle spot of a darker blue underscoring his change from a three-quarters view of his subject to a full face portrait.  The crisp white cuffs of the Marquis’ shirt provide another brightening touch in the final composition.

img_0525-copyright-lucy-paquette-2016-2As Tissot placed the Marquise, Geneviève, and the Marquis in his study, he clearly struggled with where to place the couple’s son, Léon.  The study shows that he planned to paint Léon prominently in the center of the family, and initially, Léon stands in a studied pose reminiscent of an adult male in a formal eighteenth-century aristocratic portrait.  However, this strikes a false note in a picture meant to be a modern, informal, English-style portrait of an affectionate family.  Tissot also struggled with how to enliven the lower right corner of the composition.  In the study, he fills that spot with a highly-patterned blanket and a bright red touch over a wooden ladder-back chair.

img_2578-copyright-lucy-paquette-2015-3In the finished painting, Tissot solved both artistic challenges by placing Léon in the lower right corner — in the chair.  The red diced hose that Léon wears in the study have been exchanged for black diced hose, and behind him is a bright red plaid blanket.  Further visual interest is provided in that corner of the picture by the ornate table cropped at the extreme right edge.

The family’s large black dog has been relocated from its central position with Léon in the study to a more natural pose at Léon’s feet; Tissot used the dog, in the end, to enliven the central spot at the bottom of the canvas.  In a decision that finally unifies the subjects in a pleasing composition, Tissot changed the Marquis’ pose so that his crossed legs lead the eye down his long black boots to the strong black diagonal of the reclining dog.

Léon’s pose is now more natural:  he sits on his right leg while dangling his left one off the seat of the chair that he grasps with his hand.  While his mother, sister and father gaze directly at the viewer, Léon is very much a little boy whose attention is elsewhere.  The Marquis has now taken center place in the family group, and his figure is visually united with his wife’s by the halved pear, part of which is angled toward him while the knife handle is angled toward her.

The red touches that Tissot initially placed in the center and lower right of the composition still were used in the center and lower right in the finished portrait, but in different ways.  And notice how the dog’s pink tongue provides the color between the two areas in both the study and the final painting.

Tissot’s study reveals the effort and creative decisions he made to produce one of his most polished and exquisite works.

His care with this composition, and his considerable technical skill in executing it, was reflected in all his work.  The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their children was exhibited in Paris, at the Cercle de l’Union Artistique, in 1866, and entered him into the lucrative market for Society portraiture after a decade of living and learning in the French capitol.  Although at least one critic did not like the overall grey palette of this picture, and felt that the portrayal of the little boy lacked impact, the Marquis de Miramon next commissioned Tissot to paint an individual portrait of his beautiful wife – and, two years later, a group portrait with eleven of his fellow club members that provided an even greater compositional challenge:  The Circle of the Rue Royale.

The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their Children (1865), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 69 11/16 by 85 7/16 in. (177 by 217 cm). Musée d’Orsay, Paris (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Related posts:

Ready and waiting: Tissot’s entrée, 1865

From Princess to Plutocrat: Tissot’s Patrons

Tissot in the new millenium: Museum Acquisitions

A spotlight on Tissot at the Met’s “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity”

Masculine Fashion, by James Tissot: Aristocrats (1865 – 1868)

James Tissot’s Fashion Plates (1864-1878): A Guest Post for Mimi Matthews by Lucy Paquette

CH377762© 2016 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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.

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Masculine Fashion, by James Tissot: Aristocrats (1865 – 1868)

James Tissot, the son of a draper and a hat manufacturer, was so skilled a painter of women’s fashions that he receives little notice for his depictions of men’s fashions.

The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their Children (1865), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 69 11/16 by 85 7/16 in. (177 by 217 cm). Musée d’Orsay, Paris (Photo credit: Wikimedia.org)

In The Marquis and the Marchioness of Miramon and their children, René de Cassagne de Beaufort, marquis de Miramon (1835 – 1882) and his wife, née Thérèse Feuillant (1836 – 1912), pose with their first two children, Geneviève (1863 – 1924) and Léon (1861 – 1884) on the terrace of the château de Paulhac in Auvergne.

IMG_2606 Marquis de MiramonThe Marquis is elegant and at his ease in loosely-cut sack coat with sloping shoulders and balloon sleeves (cut very wide at the elbows and narrowing at the shoulder and cuff) that were influenced by the Oriental vogue.  His left lapel is accented with the ultimate sartorial touch — a rose, this one in a delicate pink.

The fact that his riding breeches are cut from the same grey fabric as the coat was a novelty, considered appropriate only in domestic settings – amounting to a sporty lounge suit.  His tall leather riding boots, with their marvelous row of spherical buttons, echo the spherical cuff link on his left wrist.

His white linen or cotton shirt has a turnover collar, and his deep blue patterned silk necktie is tied in a loose knot and appears to be fastened with a pearl stickpin.  His light-colored, collarless waistcoat is cut high at the top and straight across the bottom, adorned with a gold watch chain.  The informal dress and poses of his subjects, along with the outdoor setting, gave Tissot’s family portrait a British flair that was quite modern at the time.

At the same time, the Marquis de Miramon epitomizes Baudelaire’s 1863 theory of true dandyism as representing “perfection in dress” and “the best way to appear distinguished.”  The accomplished gentleman was always dressed correctly for any occasion, public or private.

IMG_2603, LéonThe Marquis’ son, Léon, at four, also is perfectly turned out, though more flamboyant.  He wears a lace-trimmed white shirt, and his buff-colored coat and matching waistcoat are adorned with black scrollwork (soutache) embroidery, fashionable in the mid-1860s (and similar to that worn by the central figure in Monet’s monumental 1866 painting, Women in the Garden).  He would be out of skirts, and wearing a jacket and trousers, by the time he reached age 5 or 6.  Léon’s black leather shoes, paired with black and grey diced Scottish kilt hose, sport silver buckles.  On his chair, his low-crowned straw helmet, its color an exact match with his coat and waistcoat, is made splendid by a black velvet ribbon band and rosette with a bejeweled silver ornament.

Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1867), by James Tissot. 27 by 15 in. (68.58 by 38.10 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Lucy Paquette.

Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1867), by James Tissot. 27 by 15 in. (68.58 by 38.10 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Lucy Paquette.

In 1867, Tissot painted 43-year-old Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1824 –1896), the president of the exclusive Jockey Club in Paris.  Married in 1853, Eugène Aimé Nicolas Coppens de Fontenay had three children.

In this distinctive portrait, he is wearing wearing a white shirt with a turnover collar and a bright blue necktie.  His black sack coat has sloping shoulders and is paired with a high-cut, collarless waistcoat in pristine white.

Fontenay carries a top hat, tan kid gloves, and a walking stick, proper accouterments for day wear.  His trousers, in a brown fabric contrasting with his coat, are slim-fitting and have a substantial break.  He wears black leather ankle boots (probably with elastic sides) and, like the Marquis de Miramon, sports a dapper waxed mustache.

The Jockey Club began as a meeting place for members of the Society for the Encouragement of Horse Racing in France, founded in November 1833 by fourteen Anglophiles under the age of 30, who were aristocrats or the scions of financiers and horse breeders.  The Jockey Club was founded in June 1834, in luxurious, wood-paneled quarters on the corner of rue Grange-Batelière, just north of the intersection between Boulevard Haussmann, Boulevard des Italiens, and Boulevard Poissonnière.  All fashionable men aspired to belong to this bastion of male extravagance.  By 1864, it had 650 titled and wealthy members, who voted with white or black balls; six white balls were required for admission.

The Circle of the Rue Royale (1868), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 68 7/8 by 110 5/8 in. (175 by 281 cm). Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo credit: Wikimedia.org)

In 1868, Tissot painted a dozen of the most fashionable men in Paris in a group portrait, The Circle of the Rue Royale (1868).  Members of this exclusive club, founded in 1852, each paid Tissot a sitting fee of 1,000 francs.  He portrayed them on a balcony of the Hôtel de Coislin overlooking the Place de la Concorde (if you look closely at the original painting, you can see the horse traffic through the balustrade).  From left to right: Count Alfred de la Tour Maubourg (1834-1891), Marquis Alfred du Lau d’Allemans (1833-1919), Count Étienne de Ganay (1833-1903), Captain Coleraine Vansittart (1833-1886), Marquis René de Miramon (1835-1882), Count Julien de Rochechouart (1828-1897), Baron Rodolphe Hottinguer (1835-1920; he kept the painting according to the agreed-upon drawing of lots), Marquis Charles-Alexandre de Ganay *(1803-1881), Baron Gaston de Saint-Maurice (1831-1905), Prince Edmond de Polignac (1834-1901), Marquis Gaston de Galliffet (1830-1909) and Charles Haas (1833-1902).

IMG_2655, Count Alfred de La Tour MaubourgSeated on the balustrade, Count Alfred de La Tour Maubourg, at age 34, wears a black sack coat with only the top button fastened, in what was called “English” or “Richmond-style” buttoning.  He wears it over loose, light-grey trousers, a white waistcoat over a white shirt with a turnover collar, and a blue cravat.

 

IMG_2654, Marquis Alfred du Lau d’AllemansLounging next to him, the Marquis Alfred du Lau d’Allemans, age 35, wears a black sack coat over loose, dark-grey trousers, a white shirt with a turnover collar, and a black patterned cravat, while showing off his high-cut golden silk waistcoat.

 

IMG_2651, Count Étienne de GanayCount Étienne de Ganay, in the black silk top hat, is more formally dressed in a morning suit with a high stand-up shirt collar under his tan overcoat.  His low-cut, shawl-collared waistcoat displays his pristine white shirt, with its tight-fitting, stand-up collar.  At 35, he wears a golden watch chain, and he carries a cane, as if soon to depart on business.  He has an extraordinary combination of a blonde handlebar mustache and prodigious brown whiskers.

IMG_2647, Count Julien de RochechouartCount Julien de Rochechouart, age 40, is seated, with a cigarette in his right hand.  His stylish black and white hounds tooth trousers echo the colors of the Dalmatian at his feet, while the solid black of his buttoned frock coat is relieved by his casually fluffed white pocket square – and his massive ginger beard.  His black leather ankle boots have a high polish.

IMG_2649, Captain Coleraine VansittartCaptain Coleraine Vansittart, standing behind him with slicked-down hair, was British.  He sports a brown sack coat buttoned Richmond-style and cut sharply away from the top button to show a considerable amount of the matching waistcoat.  At 35, he pairs these items with grey trousers and a white shirt with a high, starched, stand-up collar.  He seems to be wearing a white necktie.  His pose, with his left hand tucked into his pocket, exposes the black-and-white gingham lining of the coat.

IMG_2646, Marquis René de MiramonMarquis René de Miramon, age 33, is seated on the sofa, wearing a black silk top hat and holding tan gloves and an umbrella.  Dressed more formally than in his 1865 family portrait, he wears his black morning coat with light-grey trousers and black leather ankle boots.  Peeking out under his white turnover collar is a bright blue necktie.

 

IMG_2643, Baron Rodolphe HottinguerBaron Rodolphe Hottinguer, a banking heir who at 33 won the right to keep the painting of the group, sits on the other side of the sofa.  In contrast to his notable ginger-colored hair and impressive mutton-chop sideburns, he is quietly dressed in a black frock coat paired with a collared, high-cut black vest and light-grey trousers.  He has neatly folded and tied a dark-colored square scarf over his stand-up white shirt collar

IMG_2639, Marquis Charles-Alexandre de GanayMarquis Charles-Alexandre de Ganay * sits in profile in a beautifully-carved chair, showing off the brown spats buttoned over his black ankle boots.  Elegantly at his ease, he wears a black morning coat and blue, red and black plaid trousers with a white turnover collar and a light-grey patterned necktie.

[Note:  The Musée d’Orsay identifies this figure simply as Marquis de Ganay, though other sources identify him as Marquis Charles-Alexandre de Ganay (18031881), who was the father of the third sitter from the left, Count Étienne de Ganay (1833-1903).  It is not possible that the young blonde man seated in the center of Tissot’s portrait is 65 years old.]

IMG_2642, Baron Gaston de Saint-MauriceBaron Gaston de Saint-Maurice, age 37, is seated on the arm of the sofa, wearing a black silk top hat.  His black frock coat is buttoned over his high-cut white waistcoat, and the white slashes are echoed in the tidy white silk square folded into his breast pocket.  His bright blue necktie is fastened with a pearl stickpin, and he wears dark grey trousers.

IMG_2636, Prince Edmond de PolignacPrince Edmond de Polignac, at 34, lounges dreamily in the upholstered armchair, his left forefinger holding a place in his book about Louis XVII.  His flamboyant, black-and-white patterned trousers are in high style.  He wears a black morning coat, a high-cut white waistcoat with a shawl collar, and a blue necktie which may be fastened with a pearl stickpin.  He also appears to have white or grey pearl cuff links.  His grey top hat, grey gloves, and cane are stowed beneath him.

IMG_2638, Marquis Gaston de GalliffetMarquis Gaston de Galliffet, greying at the temples at 38, wears a black sack coat over slim-fitting black trousers cut from the same fabric – a sporty, fashion-forward lounge suit.  He pairs a blue-patterned necktie with his turnover shirt collar.  Is that his extinguished cigar, crushed on the floor to the left of his black leather ankle boots?  In three years, Galliffet would become known as “le marquis aux talons rouges” [Marquis Red Heels] for his brutal executions of Communards in Paris.  This was a clever reference to both his brutality in glorying in the blood of his victims as well as Galliffet’s dandyism – perhaps outré – since showy red heels had been a male fashion trend from at least 1697 to 1785, but not since.

Louis XIV (The Sun King, who ruled France from 1643 until his death in 1715) declared that only those in the royal favor were allowed the privilege of having red heels on their shoes, and by Marie Antoinette’s time, red heels had become a hated symbol of the monarchy.  British historian Philip Mansel observed that the bright heels indicated nobles did not dirty their shoes – but were “always ready to crush the enemies of the state at their feet.”  [See Louis XIV’s 1701 portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud, which features the red-heeled shoes.]

IMG_2631, Charles HaasCharles Haas, age 35, stands, framed in the high doorway with his cane held jauntily over his right shoulder.  He wears a tan coat over his brown sack coat and matching brown, high-cut waistcoat, with finely-checked light-grey trousers.  He sports brown spats buttoned over his black leather ankle boots, and he is wearing tan kid gloves.  He has loosened the high, starched, winged stand-up collar on his white shirt, and he wears a bright blue necktie fastened with a pearl stickpin.  The fluffed pocket square in the breast pocket of his sack coat lends another white note.

Haas, a Jewish art collector and critic, was one of the models for Proust’s character, Charles Swann, in In Search of Lost Time (1913).  Haas had been blackballed from the Jockey Club four times until his heroism during the Franco-Prussian War earned his entry.  He was the lover, and later the friend, of Sarah Bernhardt.  Haas’ gleaming, flared, light-grey silk top hat was custom-made for him by Delion, who made it for only a half-dozen other elite clients.

Related posts:

The high life, 1868: Tissot, his villa & The Circle of the Rue Royale

A spotlight on Tissot at the Met’s “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity”

©  2016 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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 in the U.S.: The West

Two of James Tissot’s most fascinating oil paintings are in public collections in California, and another is on loan with an exhibition in Colorado through February, 2014.

You’ll find Tissot’s Self-Portrait (c. 1865) at The California Palace of the Legion of Honour, San Francisco.  Acquired as part of the Mildred Anna Williams Collection in 1961, this self-portrait shows him at 29, ready for – though perhaps wary of – the spectacular success he would earn in Paris during the five years before the Franco-Prussian War broke out.

Self portrait, c.1865 (oil on panel), by James Tissot.   Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA, USA.  Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in "The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot" by Lucy Paquette, © 2012.

Self portrait, c.1865, by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 19 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. (49.8 x 30.2 cm.). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA, USA. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot” by Lucy Paquette, © 2012.

Tissot moved to Paris from the seaport of Nantes in 1856 (before he turned 20 on October 15 of that year), to study art.  He lived in rented rooms in the crowded Latin Quarter and made his début at the Salon in 1859.  By 1865, Tissot was earning 70,000 francs a year, and in 1866 he bought property to build himself a mansion in the avenue de l’Impératrice (Empress Avenue, now avenue Foch), Baron Haussmann’s magnificent new boulevard linking the Place de l’Etoile and the park grounds at the Bois de Boulogne.  He furnished it in lavish Second Empire taste, forming a collection of Chinese and Japanese art for which he became renowned, and which he featured in many of his paintings.

Tissot, in contrast to his friends Degas, Whistler and Manet, had found acceptance in a circle beyond the Salon, the critics, or intellectual rebels:  he had found an entrée to the French aristocracy and was commissioned to paint The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their children [René de Cassagne de Beaufort, marquis de Miramon (1835-1882), his wife, née Thérèse Feuillant (1836-1912), and their first two children, Geneviève and Léon on the terrace of the château de Paulhac in Auvergne].  Tissot depicted them outdoors, as an informal, affectionate family, in 1865.  This painting, now at the Musée d’Orsay, served as his calling card to the lucrative market for Society portraiture.

Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, unframed: 128.3 x 77.2 cm. (50 1/2 x 30 3/8 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

By 1866, Tissot’s oil portraits included dapper, upper-class gentlemen, attractive and well-dressed ladies of leisure, and a wealthy-looking boy of 12 or so wearing knee breeches and red and white diced Scottish hose.  Most stunning was his Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866), in her husband’s castle, the château de Paulhac in Auvergne.  Tissot depicts the 30-year-old Marquise wearing a pink velvet peignoir, leaning on the mantel in her sitting room with a stylish Japanese screen behind her.  The portrait is on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, California, which acquired the picture from the family in 2007.  Alongside is displayed a sample of the pink silk velvet used in the Marquise’s peignoir, produced with a modern aniline dye.  Her descendants kept this piece of fabric, as well as the letter that Tissot wrote to her husband, who had commissioned the portrait, asking permission to display it at the 1867 Paris International Exhibition.  Permission was granted, and this private image was seen by the public for the first time – the only time, until the Getty purchased it.

I saw this painting when it was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the blockbuster exhibition, “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity.”  It’s gorgeous – the photograph doesn’t do it justice.

Young Ladies Admiring Japanese Objects (1869), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 22 by 15 in. (55.88 by 38.10 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Another of Tissot’s most lovely paintings, Young Ladies Admiring Japanese Objects (1869), has been on loan to the Getty Museum from a private collection since about 2012.

The Fan (1875), by James Tissot. 15 x 19 in. (38.10 x 48.26 cm.) Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo Wikimedia.org)

At the end of the Franco-Prussian War and its bloody aftermath, the Paris Commune, Tissot fled to London, where he quickly rebuilt his successful career.  The Fan (1875) simultaneously demonstrates Tissot’s facility depicting plant life, fashion, female beauty and japonisme.  It was sold by Sotheby’s, London in 1982 for $ 73,974/£ 42,000 to Charles Jerdein (1916 – 1999), a thoroughbred trainer who later concentrated on his business as an art dealer in London.  Jerdein sold The Fan to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut shortly after he purchased it; the Wadsworth was able to acquire it due to the generosity of The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund.  The Fan will be on display at the Denver Art Museum’s exhibition, “Court to Café: Three Centuries of French Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum,” in the Hamilton Building, Level 2, through February 9, 2014.  The exhibition will include furnishings from the Denver Art Museum’s collection and costumes on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Study for Foreign Visitors at the Louvre (Visiteurs étrangers au Louvre, oil on panel, 14 1/4 by 10 3/8 in./36.3 by 26.4 cm, c. 1880), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 14 1/4 by 10 3/8 in./36.3 by 26.4 cm. Private collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

The most recent Tissot oil to enter a collection in the western U.S. is Foreign Visitors at the Louvre (c. 1880, oil on canvas, 29 by 19.5 in.).  Made after Tissot’s 1879 visit to the Louvre in Paris with Kathleen Newton, the 25-year-old divorcée and mother who became his mistress and muse in London, it was donated to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California by the estate of Barbara Darlington Dupee in 2013.

Related posts:

Ready and waiting: Tissot’s entrée, 1865

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

A spotlight on Tissot at the Met’s “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity”

Tissot in the U.S.: New England

© Copyright Lucy Paquette 2013.  All rights reserved.

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.

A spotlight on Tissot at the Met’s “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity”

Last week, I visited “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” at the Met.

The exhibition is overwhelmingly beautiful – almost too much to take in during one afternoon.  The Manets, the Morisots – the gowns!  It’s fabulous; you’re transported.  See it if you can, and if you can’t – take the Met’s virtual tour, gallery by gallery.  Among the wonderful exhibits is the actual costume worn in In the Conservatory (Madame Bartholomé).  Albert Bartholomé (1848 – 1928) saved the two-piece summer gown after his wife, Périe (1849-1887), daughter of the Marquis de Fleury, passed away too young.

Besides not wanting to miss this show, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to view so many of Tissot’s oil paintings in a single venue.  They are stunning.

Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, unframed: 50 1/2 x 30 3/8 in. (128.3 x 77.2 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866), is on loan from The J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, California, which acquired the picture from the family in 2007.  Tissot depicts the 30-year-old Marquise in her husband’s castle, the château de Paulhac in Auvergne, leaning on the mantel in her sitting room with a stylish Japanese screen behind her.  It’s gorgeous – the photograph doesn’t do it justice.  The ruffles on her gown, which appear so precise, are lovely, curling brushstrokes.  Alongside is displayed a sample of the pink silk velvet used in the Marquise’s peignoir, produced with a modern aniline dye.  Her descendants kept this piece of fabric as well as the letter that Tissot wrote to her husband, who had commissioned the portrait, asking permission to display it at the 1867 Paris International Exhibition.  Permission was granted, and this private image was seen by the public for the first time.

It’s unfortunately the fashion to criticize Tissot’s work harshly.  A February 21, 2013 reviewer in The New York Times couldn’t resist disparaging the Portrait of Marquise de Miramon as “zealously detailed,” when that’s why it’s so wonderful.  (Remember Scarlett O’Hara’s dressing gown in Gone with the Wind?)  Visitors also are mesmerized by  Tissot’s Portrait of the Marquis and Marchioness of Miramon and their children and  The Circle of the Rue Royale.  People (including me) vie for a position close enough to examine these pictures, clearly reluctant to step away.  Tissot’s aristocratic images are magnetic, a bit voyeuristic, as they provide us with a glimpse of a lost world.

Two Sisters (1863), Portrait of Mademoiselle L. L. (1864), Portrait of the Marquis and Marchioness of Miramon and their children (1865) and The Circle of the Rue Royale (1868) all are from the Museé d’Orsay, Paris.

Two Sisters

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

The Two Sisters was sold from Tissot’s studio, a year after his death in 1902, to a collector in whose name it was given to the Luxembourg Museum, in Paris, in 1904.  It has been in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay since 1982.  This is the first time The Two Sisters has been shown in the U.S.

Portrait of Mlle. L.L. (Young Lady in a Red Jacket) (February 1864), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 48 13/16 x 39 3/8 in. (124 x 99.5 cm.) Museé d’Orsay, Paris.  (Photo: wikipaintings)

Portrait of Mademoiselle L. L. was in the collection of the Luxembourg Museum from 1907 to 1929, when it was assigned to the Louvre; it has been at the Musée d’Orsay in 1978.  I love this painting – a depiction of such an independent, intelligent, confident young woman – with its softly-rendered pompoms.  Tissot’s paintings in the 1864 Salon – this one and Two Sisters – reflected the trend toward capturing “modernity,” and he began to hit his stride as an artist.  Mademoiselle L.L. has been exhibited once in New York before, in 1994, as well as in New Haven, CT in 1999 and in San Francisco, CA and Nashville, TN in 2010.

The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their Children (1865), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 69 11/16 x 85 7/16 in. (177 x 217 cm). Musée d’Orsay, Paris (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

The Marquis and the Marquise de Miramon and their Children is my very favorite Tissot painting.  It’s  gloriously lovely, a vision of perfection.  I had to jostle through the crowd of admirers to thoroughly scrutinize every detail.  The portrait remained in the family until 2006, when it was acquired by the Musée d’Orsay, and this is the first time it’s been exhibited anywhere else since 1866.

The Circle of the Rue Royale - Tableau en cour...

The Circle of the Rue Royale (1868), by James Tissot.  68 7/8 x 110 5/8 in. (175 x 281 cm).  Musée d’Orsay,  Paris.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Circle of the Rue Royale fills a wall at the Met, and visitors manage to peel themselves away, only to backtrack and examine some other intriguing detail.  Members of this exclusive club, founded in 1852, each paid Tissot a sitting fee of 1,000 francs.  He portrayed them on a balcony of the Hôtel de Coislin overlooking the Place de la Concorde (if you look closely at the original painting, you can see the horse traffic through the balustrade).  From left to right: Count Alfred de La Tour Maubourg (1834-1891), Marquis Alfred du Lau d’Allemans (1833-1919), Count Étienne de Ganay (1833-1903), Captain Coleraine Vansittart (1833-1886), Marquis René de Miramon (1835-1882), Count Julien de Rochechouart (1828-1897), Baron Rodolphe Hottinguer (1835-1920; he kept the painting according to the agreed-upon drawing of lots), Marquis Charles-Alexandre de Ganay (1803-1881), Baron Gaston de Saint-Maurice (1831-1905), Prince Edmond de Polignac (1834-1901), Marquis Gaston de Galliffet (1830-1909) and Charles Haas (1833-1902).  The Musée d’Orsay acquired The Circle of the Rue Royale in 2011 from Baron Hottinguer’s descendants for about 4 million euros.

Captain Frederick Gustavus Burnaby

Captain Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1870), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 19.5 x 23.5 in. (49.5 x 59.7 cm). National Portrait Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

The small picture of Captain Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1870) bursts with life.  Burnaby is too, too debonair, and the flicks of paint that create the gleam on his shoes are fascinating.  (I expected to be chastised for standing too close, but the guards were preoccupied with admonishing visitors that photographs are not allowed in the exhibition galleries.)

Tissot, 33 when he painted this image, owned a villa on the most prestigious avenue in Paris, and he occasionally supplied his British friend Tommy Bowles (Thomas Gibson Bowles,1841 – 1922), with caricatures of prominent men for Vanity Fair, Tommy’s new Society magazine which had made its début in London in 1868.  One of Tommy Bowles’ closest friends was the dashing Gus Burnaby (Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, 1842 – 1885), a captain in the privileged Royal Horse Guards, the cavalry regiment that protected the monarch.  Gus, a member of the Prince of Wales’ set, had suggested the name, Vanity Fair, lent Bowles half of the necessary £200 in start-up funding, and then volunteered to go to Spain to chronicle his adventures for the satirical magazine.  All Burnaby’s letters, which were first published on December 19, 1868 and continued through 1869, were titled “Out of Bounds” and signed “Convalescent” (he suffered intermittent bouts of digestive ailments and depression throughout his life). 

In 1870, Tommy Bowles, now 29, commissioned James Tissot to paint a small portrait of Burnaby.  Tissot presented Gus in his “undress” uniform as a captain in the 3rd Household Cavalry – and as an elegant gentleman in a relaxed male conversation.  The painting was purchased by London’s National Portrait Gallery from Bowles’ son (and Burnaby’s godson), George, in 1933.  Burnaby’s posthumous travels over the years have taken him (among other places) to Providence, RI; New Haven, CT; Buffalo, NY; Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA.  This exhibition takes him to Chicago next.

Ball on Shipboard

Ball on Shipboard (1874), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 33 1/8 x 51 in. (84.1 x 129.5 cm). Tate, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ball on Shipboard (1874) and Portrait of Miss Lloyd (1876) are from the Tate Britain, London.  Scholars have written that Tissot had a fixation with twins, but the Met’s show asserts that in Ball on Shipboard, Tissot was making a wry commentary on the rise of ready-to-wear fashion (and, of course, the tackiness of the nouveaux riches).  This is not Tissot’s only painting of women wearing identical ensembles:  see In the Conservatory (1875-76, also known as The Rivals).  Part of the viewer’s fascination with Tissot’s paintings is the enigmatic quality of his images:  they are as precise as photographs while they evade precise meaning.  You find yourself transfixed as you try to puzzle it out.

Portrait of Miss Lloyd

Portrait of Miss Lloyd (1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 36 x 20 in. (91.4 x 50.8 cm).  Tate, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portrait of Miss Lloyd was purchased at Christie’s, London, in 1911 for £44.2.0 as An Afternoon Call and was acquired by the Tate in 1927.  When Tissot painted it in 1876, he titled it A Portrait.  The model for the drypoint version that Tissot made of this in 1876 was identified at a 1903 Paris auction as Miss Lloyd.

July (Speciman of a Portrait) (1878), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 34 7/16 x 24 in. (87.5 x 61 cm). Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

July (Speciman of a Portrait) (1878) is from the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (bequest of Noah L. Butkin in 1980).  One in a series representing months of the year, the figure is modeled by Tissot’s mistress, Kathleen Newton (1854–1882).  Near this picture and Miss Lloyd’s portrait, the Met features a gown of the period very similar to Tissot’s prop costume, complete with graceful, loose bows of lemon-yellow satin ribbon.  [This costume also was used in A Convalescent and A Passing Storm, both painted in 1876, and Spring, c. 1878.]

Le Bal: Le Bal (Evening, 1878), by James Tissot. 35 7/16 x 19 11/16 in. (90 x 50 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Kathleen Newton also modeled for Evening or Le Bal (c. 1885).  The painting moved around Paris:  it was at the Musée du Luxembourg from 1919 to 1920, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 1948, then at the National Museum of Modern Art until 1977, when it passed through the Louvre before being assigned that year to the Musée d’Orsay.  Evening was exhibited in the U.S. in Atlanta, GA in 2002 and in Houston, TX in 2003.

After Kathleen Newton died in 1882, Tissot’s work lost something – heart, confidence, a compelling sense of himself present in his work from 1864 to 1882.  In Paris, during and after the Franco-Prussian War, he already had lost so much – the carefree life he had as a young artist on the rise; his reputation as he, alone among his set, remained in Paris throughout the atrocities of the Commune, even his brand-new villa and studio as he fled to London and remained for a decade.  He retained ownership of the villa and moved into a large home in St. John’s Wood.  There, his paintings of his domestic life with Kathleen exude joie de vivre, but after he moved back to Paris, there’s something cold about his work.

Women of Paris: The Circus Lover

Women of Paris: The Circus Lover (1885), by James Tissot. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo: wikipedia)

The Circus Lover (1885) is one in a series of eighteen called La Femme à Paris (Women of Paris).  The setting for this picture is the Molier Circus in Paris, a “high-life circus” in which the amateur performers were members of the aristocracy.  The man on the trapeze wearing red is the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, one of the oldest titles of the French nobility.  The painting, which measures 58 x 40 1/4 in. (174 x 102 cm.) was purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts in 1958 for $5,000 as Amateur Circus.

The Shop Girl (1883-1885), by James Tissot. 57.5 x 40 in. (146.1 x 101.6 cm). Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada. (Photo: wikimedia.org)

The Shop Girl (1883-1885), also part of the La Femme à Paris series, was acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada, in 1968.

James Tissot’s work was – and is – denigrated by the critics, as being too good – too smooth, too detailed, too meticulous.  The accepted line is that he didn’t bring enough that was innovative.  Tissot was as technically proficient as the popular Alfred Stevens (1823 – 1906), in depicting female beauty and luxurious fashions.  What Tissot brought was an eye for revealing character through detail, and his own urbane, wry wit.

Who but James Tissot could have portrayed the larger-than-life Gus Burnaby?  Who but Tissot would depict the matron looking down her nose at the attractive young woman on the arm of a much older man in Evening?  And who else would have painted the head of the man outside the display window over the neck of the window mannequin in The Shop Girl?

In 1869, the journal L’Artiste, in a review of Tissot’s painting, Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects, exhibited at the Paris Salon, commented, “Our industrial and artistic creations can perish, our morals and our fashions can fall into obscurity, but a picture by M. Tissot will be enough for archaeologists of the future to reconstitute our epoch.”

Catching our breath at the Met's Balcony Bar

Catching our breath at the Met’s Balcony Bar

Tissot’s most arresting images have stood the test of time.

It was great fun to hop a train (with my all-too-willing husband) to spend an afternoon at the Met – and to view twelve Tissots at once.

Really, if you can’t make it there before the show closes on May 27, pour yourself a cold glass of champagne and Grand Marnier, have some chocolate-dipped strawberries on hand, and enjoy the virtual exhibition.

© 2013 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

View my video, “The Strange Career of James Tissot” (Length:  2:33 minutes).

Exhibition Notes:

“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/listings/2013/impressionism-fashion-modernity

“Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” is coming to the Art Institute of Chicago Wednesday, June 26 – Sunday, September 29, 2013

http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/impressionism-fashion-and-modernity

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.

On top of the world: Tissot, Millais & Alma-Tadema in 1867

Sleeping, by J.E. Millais (www.wikipaintings.org)

In London, the renowned John Everett Millais exhibited four paintings at the 1867 Royal Academy: Sleeping, Waking, and The Minuet (modeled respectively by his daughters, Carrie, Mary and Effie), as well as Jephthah and Master Cayley (a portrait of young Hugh Cayley of Wydale).

Master Cayley, by J.E. Millais (flickr.com)

Waking and Sleeping each fetched 1,000 guineas, but while these commissioned paintings of adorable children were lucrative, they were risky in their own way: his daughter Mary, left alone for a few minutes while modeling for Waking, grabbed a paint brush and slathered brown strokes across the bottom of her father’s canvas, telling him that she was helping him paint the floor. (Millais repaired the damage without chastising her.)  Tom Taylor, the British art critic and a good friend of Millais’, called Sleeping*  “the most beautiful picture the artist has ever painted,” and one of the chief works of art of British painting.

Millais, now 38, had seven children, and fortunately, Effie’s parents were willing to watch them while they entertained friends and international celebrities. He was not much for foreign travel, but he made the trip to Paris for the World’s Fair, where his The Eve of St. Agnes (1863), illustrating the popular Keats poem, was on exhibit. When this painting first was exhibited in London in 1863, one prominent gentleman sniffed, “I cannot bear that woman with the gridiron,” and even Millais’ friend Tom Taylor, cried, “Where on earth did you get that scraggy model, Millais?” (It was Effie, who had posed in an unheated Jacobean mansion in Kent for three December nights in a row.)  But at the 1867 Paris Exposition and after, The Eve of St. Agnes was revered.  [This painting is now in The Royal Collection, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.]

Madeleine undressing, painting by John Everett...

The Eve of St. Agnes (1863), by John Everett Millais (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still living in Brussels, Tissot’s Dutch friend Lourens Tadema (later Lawrence Alma-Tadema) exhibited two oils at Ernest Gambart’s 14th Annual Exhibition of French and Flemish Schools which opened in London in April. One of the paintings, Tibullus at Delia’s (No. 77) fared well; the other, The honeymoon (reign of Augustus)(No. 83) did not. Gambart entered thirteen of Tadema’s pictures in the Paris International Exposition – from those that had been hanging, unsold, in Gambart’s London mansion. Tadema’s Pastimes in Ancient Egypt 3,000 years ago (No. 56, 1863), which had been awarded the gold medal in the 1864 Salon, won a second class medal at the Exposition.  Tadema had completed the 34 paintings that Gambart had commissioned from him in 1864; Gambart now commissioned another 48 at higher prices.

Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Tibullus at Delia's

Tibullus at Delia’s, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the Paris Exposition, James Tissot made the most of the opportunity for his work to be seen internationally and wrote to the Marquis de Miramon with the request – which was granted – of the loan of his wife’s elegant portrait for the occasion.  He also showed a slightly larger version of The Confidence on exhibit at the Salon.

Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1867), by James Tissot.  27 x 15 in. (68.58 x 38.10 cm.)  Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Photo by Lucy Paquette

Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1867), by James Tissot. 27 x 15 in. (68.58 x 38.10 cm.) Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Lucy Paquette

Tissot was busy with commissions for portraits of aristocrats, including the president of Paris’ exclusive Jockey Club, Eugène Coppens de Fontenay.  Tissot continued to paint elegant, uncontroversial images of contemporary life: The Wardrobe, The Races at Longchamp, The Terrace of the Jeu de Paume, and Beating the Retreat in the Tuileries Gardens.

Beating the Retreat in the Tuileries Gardens (1867), by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

In addition to Millais, another role model of artistic success strongly influenced Tissot’s work after this year. At the International Exposition, the Belgian artist Alfred Stevens (1823 – 1906) exhibited 18 paintings and won a gold medal. Stevens, who attended Princess Mathilde’s receptions and often received loans of her gowns for his pictures, was long established as an award-winning painter in the Paris art world and hosted frequent parties of his own. He was friends with Tissot as well as Whistler, Degas, Manet, and others who now met at the Café Guerbois.  His polished paintings of beautiful women wearing modern fashions in elegant interiors, like The Lady in Pink (1867), would provide a new source of inspiration for Tissot.

English: The Lady in Pink Français : La Dame e...

La Dame en rose/The Lady in Pink, by Alfred Stevens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sleeping eventually was owned by the model, Millais’ third daughter, Carrie – later Lady Stuart of Wortley (1862-1936), who became an accomplished pianist and second wife of the conservative MP for Sheffield.  The painting was sold by her descendents in 1969. Thirty years later, on June 10, 1999, an American collector bought it for a record £2,091,500 ($3,477,746) at Christie’s, but it was sold to meet debts and in 2003 brought only £1.2 million from a British art agent at Christie’s auction of “Important British and Irish Art.”

© 2012 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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.

Click here to download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones and tablets from amazon.com.