James Jacques Joseph Tissot
1836-1902 | French
Jeune femme à l’éventail
(Young Girl with a Fan)
Signed ‘J.J. Tissot’ (lower left)
Oil on panel
Conjuring the brilliance of late 18th-century costume with infusions of 19th-century modernity, James Jacques Joseph Tissot’s Jeune femme à l’éventail illustrates the remarkable technique for which he was renowned. His delicate portraiture, combined with his fascination with conveying texture, demonstrates why he was one of the most revered artists of the Belle Époque.
Grouped with Tissot’s “keepsake pictures” of beautiful women in fashionable dress, this work is noteworthy not only for the fresh face of its sitter but also for the appearance of some of Tissot’s most beloved props. The delicate fan and paisley cashmere shawl, a favorite prop of Tissot’s artistic idol Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, made frequent appearances in his paintings, as did the exquisite dress the sitter wears. Its identifiable styling can be seen in several of Tissot’s most notable works of the period, including La chéminée and Un déjeuner à la riviere.
The playful feel of this painting is grounded by Tissot’s exceptional attention to detail. A master of conjuring an array of textures, Tissot showcased this ability in this composition by juxtaposing many types of fabrics and patterns within one costume. This intricacy, which he carried even to his depiction of the woman’s manicure and jewelry, set him on par with the best artists of his day and contributed to his commercial success.
Born in 1836 in the port town of Nantes, Tissot traveled to Paris at the age of 20 in order to join the studios of Hippolyte Flandrin and Louis Lamothe. During this period, he became close with James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet, and the impact of these friendships is reflected in his portraits of modern life. Having enjoyed considerable success in Paris during the 1860s, Tissot fought in the Siege of Paris, and after the fall of the Commune in 1871, he went to London, where he stayed for the next ten years. He was met with incredible success there, and he also met the love of his life, Kathleen Newton, a divorcée, with whom he lived from about 1876 until her death in 1882. Today he is regarded among the great masters of Belle Époque painting, and his works can be found in important collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Musée d’Orsay, the Tate Gallery and many others.
Panel: 31 1/4” high x 22 3/4” wide
Frame: 39 1/8" high x 30 1/2" wide
Sold by James Tissot as L’Éventail to Jean Pilgeram and Léon Lefèvre, of the French Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above as The Fan by Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, July 6, 1872.
Acquired from the above by John Foster, Bradford, West Yorkshire, December 24, 1872.
Martin Foster, by descent.
His sale; Christie’s, London, 29 July 1977, lot 31, as Girl with a Fan.
With Colnaghi’s, London.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, Belgravia, 23 March 1981, Lot 66 as Summer Dreams.
Walter F. Brown, Texas.
With Thomas Agnew & Sons, London.
Sir Arthur Gilbert, acquired directly from the above.
London, Barbican Art Gallery; Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery and Paris, Musée du Petit Palais, James Tissot, November 1984-June 1985, no. 27 (no. 30, Paris)
James Tissot: Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints, 1978, M. Wentworth, p. 114, 117, fig. 24b
The Albums of James Tissot, 1982, W. Misfeldt, p.44, fig. I-77.
James Tissot, 1984, M. Wentworth, p. 77, pl. 65.
James Tissot 1836-1902, 1984, K. Matyjaszkiewicz, ed., p. 66 and 103, no. 27.
The Life and Work of James Jacques Tissot 1836-1902, 1986, C. Wood, p. 48, pl. 39.
James Tissot, 1992, R. Ash, pl. 10.