James Jacques Tissot
Jacques Joseph Tissot (a.k.a. James Tissot) was born in Nantes, France in 1836. In 1856, he went to Paris with the aim of becoming an artist. He attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and studied in the studios of Flandrin and Ingres. Much of his education was received informally through acquaintances among artists and writers. Tissot was, at one time, a close friend of Degas, but a quarrel led to the termination of their friendship and Tissot refused to participate in the Impressionist exhibitions.
Tissot’s early works are paintings of historical costume pieces, but he later turned to scenes of contemporary life, often depicting attractive, stylish women. By 1870, he had gained some renown and was earning a substantial income. During the Franco-Prussian War, Tissot, a Parisian Commune sympathizer, had to leave the country to escape imprisonment. He found refuge in London, where he remained from 1871 to 1882.
In England, Tissot gained a high reputation among the social elite, painting what are now recognized, as his best pictures. As successful as he was, his work was attacked by most serious critics, including Henry James and Oscar Wilde. In 1876 Tissot met a beautiful Irish divorcee named Mrs. Kathleen Newton, who became his model and mistress and the subject of many of his paintings, including “Quiet” and “Chrysanthemums”, among others. Newton died of tuberculosis in 1882 and Tissot returned to France. He retreated into religion, as a result of his emotional state, visiting the Holy Land in 1886 and 1887. He made watercolors on the New Testament and illustrations of the Old Testament. Tissot died in Doubs, France in 1902.
Around 1860, Tissot began experimenting with etching and his etchings with Victorian charm became quite popular. In 1886, Tissot published a catalogue of his prints. They were very popular among the English public, who purchased a great deal of them, often without regard for the price. In 1903, his prints came on the market in bloc, for the first time, and soon they were material only for the second hand dealer. He is not known to have used “chine appliqué” for his prints.