James Tissot: Victorian Life/Modern Love

Wednesday, September 22, 1999
Sunday, November 28, 1999

Like his friend Edgar Degas, the French painter James Tissot was an avid Anglophile. In the 1870s he lived and worked in London and painted the manners, fashions, and vanities of modern Britain with the most refined sense of humor. In his scenes from high society, fascinating in their powerful undercurrents of sexual drama, he smiles at his characters’ foibles while reveling in every detail of their finery, every sign of their savoir-faire.

The first Tissot retrospective to be held in the U.S. since 1968, this exhibition included approximately forty paintings, forty etchings and mezzotints, and fourteen biblical illustrations in gouache. All phases of Tissot’s career were covered: the historical costume pieces of his early years; his first, highly successful ventures into the painting of modern life and love in Paris; his move to London; his studies of the beautiful Kathleen Newton, his beloved mistress and, for a time, chief model; his eventual withdrawal into the closed intimate world of their own home and garden; his return to Paris following Newton’s death from consumption; the religious fervor of his last years and his great illustrated Bible.

James Tissot, "The Ball on Shipboard" (detail), ca. 1874, oil on canvas, Tate Gallery, London. Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest, 1937

James Tissot: Victorian Life/Modern Love
was co-organized by the Center and the American Federation of Arts (AFA), with support from the AFA’s Benefactors Circle and an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. It was curated by Malcolm Warner (YCBA) in conjunction with Nancy Marshall (Yale) and accompanied by a catalogue that Warner and Marshall co-authored.

Yale Center for British Art:
September 22–November 28, 1999

Musée du Quebec, Québec City:
December 15, 1999–March 12, 2000

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo:
March 24–July 2, 2000