James Tissot Biography | Oil Paintings.

10-5-1836 Nantes, FRA – 8-8-1902 Doubs, FRA

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Tissot, James

By the time James Tissot was seventeen, he already knew he wanted to pursue painting his vocation, and also started using the given name of James. By 1854, Jacques Joseph Tissot was commonly known as James Tissot, as he was interested in anything English.

In 1857, at the age of twenty-one, James Tissot traveled to Paris fulfill his dream of being an artist, and enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to study in the studios of Hippolyte Flandrin and Louis Lamothe. who provided a majority of Tissot's studio education. As was customary in those days, he also studied on his own by copying works of the Old Masters at the Louvre. It was also around this time, Tissot also made the acquaintance of the American James McNeill Whistler, and French painters Edgar Degas, and Édouard Manet.

James Tissot had his first exhibit in the 1859 Paris Salon, where he showed five oil paintings of scenes from the Middle Ages, depicting scenes from Goethe's Faust. Earlier that year he had met the Belgian painter Jan August Hendrik Leys in Antwerp, and these works show his influence on the young Tissot. In 1860, the French government paid 5,000 Francs (equivalent to US$35,000 today) for his painting The Meeting of Faust and Marguerite.

In 1863, James Tissot all of a sudden changed his concentration from the medieval style to the portrayal of modern life through portraits. During this period in the 1860's, Tissot received critical acclaim and quickly became a successful artist. Like other artists of the time, such as Alfred Stevens and Claude Monet, Tissot also explored the new wave of Japonisme, including Japanese objects and costumes in his paintings.

Tissot fought in the Franco-Prussian War as part of the improvised defense of Paris, joining two companies of the Garde Nationale and later as part of the Paris Commune, he left Paris for London in 1871 after the short war.

James Tissot's paintings appealed greatly to well-off British industrialists during the second half of the nineteenth century. During 1872 he earned 95,000 Francs, (equivalent to US$600,000 today), a salary enjoyed only by those in the upper classes echelons.

In 1874, Degas asked him to join them in the first Impressionists exhibition, but Tissot refused, but still continued to be close to these artists. That same year, Berthe Morisot visited him in London, he traveled to Venice with Édouard Manet and he regularly met with Whistler, who influenced Tissot's Thames river scenes.

In 1885, James Tissot revived his Catholic faith, and he spent spend the next seventeen years until his death making paintings about Biblical events, but many of his artist friends were distrustful about his transformation, as it advantageously coincided with the French Catholic revival. To gain first-hand knowledge for his biblical illustrations, Tissot traveled to the Middle East in 1886, 1889, and again in 1896 to make sketches of the landscape and people. He made a series of 365 gouache illustrations about the life of Christ, which were exhibited to enthusiastic audiences and received critical acclaim. They were published in a French edition in 1896 and in an English edition the following year, bringing Tissot vast wealth and fame.

Art Movement: Realism Art.
Artists Influencing James Tissot: Hippolyte Flandrin, Louis Lamothe, Henri Leys, James Whistler.
He Traveled To England, Italy, Middle East.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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