Item #179 Description
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Inventory #179 Price: Upon Request

James Jacques Joseph Tissot
(French 1836-1902)

Portrait of an actress in eighteen century dress

Signed, pastel on silk
Size: 29 y 23 inches (73.7 by 58.4 cm)

Executed circa 1882-1883


William E. Misfeldt, "The Albums of James Tisso",
Bowling Green, 1982, NO. III-45, p. 75

Michael Wentworth, "James Tissot", Oxford, 1984, p. 158

"Pastel had been neglected in France since the Revolution…but with the general revival of interest in the art of the eighteenth century, which began in the 1840's and reached flood tide in the eighties, artists had rediscovered the sympathetic qualities of the medium. Tissot had used pastel little if at all in the past, but after his return to Paris he employed it extensively. He was an early member of the Societe de Pastellistes Francais…a "dix-hitieme" organization founded in 1885 which exhibited at the Galerie Georges Petit..." (Wentworth, p. 156)

"Virtually all of Tissot's portraits in the eighties and nineties appear to have been executed in pastel. He continued to be extremely popular as a portraitist, and was the favored portraitist of actresses and cocottes...These portraits capture the Louis XVI-Empire modishness of Parisian society in the eighties and nineties." (Wentworth, p. 157)

"Not unexpectedly, Tissot brought both his insistent technique and a sharp sense of psychological tension to his pastels. "Berthe"…,which can be dated to 1882-3 on the evidence of the etching after it, is a clever, if unsettling, mixture of rococo affectations and nervous personal mannerisms. As a fashionable taste for the eighteenth century became widespread, such portraits were often consciously conceived as extensions of an older tradition…In one instance, Tissot attempted to emulate the pastellists of the eigheenth century: for the unallocated portrait of a young woman, presumably an actress in a costume role, he deploys the flashier repertoire of rococo graces. The result, if one is not too closely critical, is an attractive facsimile of a minor eighteenth century portrait...By comparison, Tissot's insistence on his portraits an eccentricity, which has little of the timeless about it." (Wentworth, p. 158)



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