James Tissot (1836-1902)

James Tissot

James Tissot

James Tissot was a French painter, engraver, and enameler famous for his portraits of late Victorian society.




After receiving a religious education, Tissot went to Paris at age 19 to study art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Ingres, Flandrin and Lamothe. In 1859 he exhibited at the Salon (an official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris). 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 Britain (May 1871), where 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 in addition to 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 wife died.

Later 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 watercolors of New Testament subjects, which were published in two volumes.




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