James Jacques Joseph Tissot [1836-1902], French painter, illustrator and etcher, born at Nantes. Studied from c.1856 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, under Lamothe and H. Flandrin; became friendly with Whistler and Degas. Early influenced by Henri Leys and painted pictures of Faust and Marguerite. Later turned to scenes from contemporary life, especially of fashionable women, under the influence of Manet and Alfred Stevens. Took part in the defence of Paris and the Commune and was obliged to flee to London in 1871.
Exhibited at the Royal Academy 1864 and 1872-81, and at the Grosvenor Gallery 1877-9. His paintings of the Thames were influenced by Whistler. Declined an invitation from Degas to participate in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. Returned to Paris in 1883, and had his first one-man exhibition that year at the Palais de l'Industrie there. Visited Palestine in 1886-7 and 1889 and devoted the rest of his life to illustrating the Bible, his illustrations being enormously successful. Died at Buillon, near Besançon. | © Tate, London - Published in: Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.718
James Tissot, in full James-Joseph-Jacques Tissot (born Oct. 15, 1836, Nantes, France - died Aug. 8, 1902, Buillon Abbey, near Besançon), French painter, engraver and enameler noted for his portraits of late Victorian society.After receiving a religious education, Tissot went to Paris at age 19 to study art. In 1859 he exhibited at the Salon (an official exhibition sponsored by the French government). Turning from his rather anguished early works to modern genre paintings and stylish portraits, he quickly became successful in the Paris art world. He fought in the Franco-German War (1870-71), later associating himself with the Paris Commune; in its aftermath he fled to London (May 1871). There he began to rebuild his career, establishing residence in St. John’s Wood, London. During that period he made many etchings, dry-points, and mezzotints, as well as paintings. In the late 1870s he also became interested in the craft of cloisonné enameling. Occasionally traveling abroad, he made London his home until November 1882, when his Irish mistress died.Tissot returned to Paris. He struggled for a time to regain his former popularity but was not entirely successful. In 1885, after a mystical experience, he determined to illustrate a life of Christ. He took a number of trips to the Holy Land and produced some 350 watercolours of New Testament subjects, which were published in two volumes. | © Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
The fashionable painter James Tissot was Degas’s friend and mentor in the 1860s and early 1870s. Posed in a studio, top hat and satin-lined cape by his side, Tissot is surrounded by canvases that reflect the wide-ranging tastes he shared with Degas: an exotic, Japanese-style picture; scenes of contemporary leisure; and behind the easel, a sixteenth-or-seventeenth-century Venetian subject. At center, a copy after a portrait of Frederick the Wise in the Louvre, formerly attributed to Lucas Cranach the Elder, pays homage to Northern Renaissance art. | © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Edgar Degas - Portrait of James Tissot, 1867-68
James Jacques Joseph Tissot [1836-1902] è stato un pittore Francese ed incisore, che si dedicò alla pittura en Plein Air [all'aperto]. Tissot nacque a Nantes nel 1836 e studiò alla Scuola di Belle Arti di Parigi, dove ebbe tra i suoi maestri Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres; si esibì per la prima volta al Salon nel 1859, quando aveva solo ventitré anni. In questo periodo divenne celebre rappresentando ambienti e personaggi della Parigi mondana del tempo, riuscendo in particolare a rappresentare magnificamente sulla tela il fascino femminile. Il suo stile si avvicina a quello di Henri Fantin-Latour, ma sono rintracciabili anche tracce che rimandano ad Edouard Manet ed a James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Allo scoppio della guerra franco-prussiana si arruolò con entusiasmo nell'esercito francese ma, sospettato di essere comunista per la sua partecipazione alla Comune di Parigi, fu costretto a lasciare Parigi per Londra. Qui si avvicinò con interesse alla tecnica dell'acquaforte, disegnò caricature e dipinse ritratti e soggetti di genere, caratterizzati dalla fedeltà realistica e dalla morbida resa cromatica.Al colmo della fama una crisi mistica lo portò in Palestina, dove rimase per dieci anni nei quali creò centinaia di stampe ed illustrazioni relative ad episodi del Nuovo Testamento; queste opere, pubblicate nel 1896, gli procurarono ingenti guadagni. Da un punto di vista tecnico, queste illustrazioni sono caratterizzate dalla cura per i minimi particolari del paesaggio e per il vivido realismo delle figure, anche se ciò talvolta le rende fredde ed incapaci di suscitare un autentico sentimento di trasporto religioso. Cominciò poi ad interessarsi anche ad episodi del Vecchio Testamento, ma morì poco dopo, l'8 agosto 1902 nel villaggio francese di Chenecey-Buillon.