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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

The Art of Fashion by James Tissot

"The Ball" by James Tissot

“The Ball” by James Tissot

“The Ball” by James Tissot depicts a young woman wearing a lavish yellow dress, arriving at a society event. The femininity of the woman is emphasized through the interplay of curves. Her spread out fan is in the center of the painting and echoes the curve of her shoulders. Her long train is decorated with interlaced ribbons and lace revealed by the armchair with Japanese influenced motifs of fish in the water.

The fish in the water symbolizes the scene she is about to entre. The young woman will slip effortlessly into this social circle where her beauty will attract attention. Her companion is seen only from behind, and he features the white hair of age. Concealed in this way, the man’s role is reduced to no more than opening the doors to high society for his partner. The young woman is already taking the lead from him, as she looks into the distance.

In the background, some of the women are eyeing the new arrival to determine the potential influence or challenge from the latest guest to enter the ballroom scene.

The Ball

  • Title:                                  The Ball
  • Also known as:                 Evening
  • Artist:                                James Tissot
  • Year:                                  1878
  • Medium:                           Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions                       Height: 90 cm (35.4 ″); Width: 50 cm (19.6 ″)
  • Museum:                           Musée d’Orsay

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James Tissot - Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects

“Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects” by James Tissot

“Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects” by James Tissot

Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects

  • Title:                            Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects
  • Français:                      Entre les deux mon coeur balance
  • Artist:                           James Tissot
  • Year:                            1869
  • Medium:                      Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions                Height: 70.5 cm (27.7 ″); Width: 50.2 cm (19.7 ″)
  • Museum:                    Cincinnati Art Museum

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"Seaside" by James Tissot

“Seaside” by James Tissot

“Seaside” by James Tissot

Seaside

  • Title:                             Seaside
  • Artist:                           James Tissot
  • Year:                            1878
  • Medium:                      Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions                  Height: 87.5 cm (34.4 ″); Width: 61 cm (24 ″)
  • Museum:                      Cleveland Museum of Art

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"The Bridesmaid" by James Tissot

“The Bridesmaid” by James Tissot

“The Bridesmaid” by James Tissot

The Bridesmaid

  • Title:                            The Bridesmaid
  • Artist:                           James Tissot
  • Year:                             1885
  • Medium:                      Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions                 147.3 x 101.6 cm
  • Museum:                      Leeds Art Gallery

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James Tissot - A Woman of Ambition

“A Woman of Ambition” by James Tissot

“A Woman of Ambition” by James Tissot

A Woman of Ambition

  • Title:                             A Woman of Ambition
  • Also known as:            The Reception or Political Woman
  • Artist:                           James Tissot
  • Year:                             1885
  • Medium:                      Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions                  Height: 142.2 cm (56 ″); Width: 101.6 cm (40 ″)
  • Museum:                     Albright–Knox Art Gallery

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James Tissot

Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836 – 1902), anglicized as James Tissot, was a French painter and illustrator. He was a successful painter in Paris before moving to London in 1871. He became famous as a genre painter of fashionably dressed women.

Tissot left Paris after the Franco-Prussian War and resided in London from 1871. He knew James McNeill Whistler and Edgar Degas, but turned away from Impressionism and focused mainly on portraits and genre paintings of the Victorian upper classes in a more polished academic style. These pictures are typical of Tissot’s work, depicting his subjects with almost photographic realism. He composed ambiguous narratives that hinted at risqué behavior among the wealthy classes and the boundaries of propriety.

Late in his career, Tissot had a revival of his Catholic faith, which led him to spend the last fifteen years of his life painting Biblical events. At a time when French artists were working in impressionism, pointillism, and heavy oil washes, Tissot was moving toward realism in his watercolors.

To assist in his completion of biblical illustrations, Tissot traveled to the Middle East in the late 1880s to make studies of the landscape and people.

James Tissot

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French Artists you should Know

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“There is something of the human soul in his work, and that is why he is great, immense, infinite.”
– Vincent van Gogh on James Tissot

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Photo Credit: 1) James Tissot [Public domain]; James Tissot [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

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