moika-palace: Young Women Looking at Japanese Objects, James…

Friday, March 8th, 2013


Young Women Looking at Japanese Objects, James Tissot, ca. 1869.

These ladies were all over the “#japanese objects” tag back in 1869.

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emmadelosnardos: tierradentro: “Young Lady In a Boat”, 1870,…

Friday, March 1st, 2013



“Young Lady In a Boat”, 1870, James Tissot. (via)

This young lady looks a lot like Kathleen Newton, who was Tissot’s mistress and frequent model during the peak of his London portrait painting years. But she can’t be, because “Young Lady in a Boat” was exhibited at the 1870 Paris Salon, before Tissot moved to London. In 1870, the then-16-year-old Kathleen Newton was travelling to and from India, experiencing the (actually kind of horrible) events that shaped the subsequent course of her life, and she hadn’t yet met Tissot.

So the model isn’t Newton, and I guess the similarity must be due to Tissot’s aesthetic ideal of female beauty. He may have sought out models with a particular look, or adjusted their features to match his ideal when he painted them, with the result that this painting looks remarkably like the different woman who later became his muse.

I don’t know where this painting currently resides; one mention just says “private collection”. The National Gallery of Canada has this pencil study:

This drawing of an elegant courtesan captured in a relaxed pose is a study for “Young Lady in a Boat”, a painting that Jacques Joseph Tissot (known as James Tissot) showed at the 1870 Salon. The artist uses a flowing line to render the young woman’s full skirt, and devotes particular attention to his subject’s face, propped on a slender hand, the little finger touching the corner of her mouth. Tissot’s paintings were admired – and criticized – under Napoleon III for their hyper realistic and attractive, one might say seductive, depictions of modern life, in a style suggestive of the eighteenth century.

I’ve ordered a copy of Patricia O’Reilly’s fictionalized biography of Kathleen Newton, A Type of Beauty, and I’m also going to spend some time looking through the chronological list of Tissot paintings at WikiPaintings. But I don’t suppose I’ll ever be able to learn much about the “elegant courtesan” who was the subject of “Young Lady in a Boat”.

Note: Tagged for Kylie because look: It’s a famous painting of a pug!

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Pretty dresses at the Getty, second of three. From the Getty…

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Pretty dresses at the Getty, second of three. From the Getty placard:

Portrait of Princess Leonilla of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn (1843)

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (German, 1805-1873; active in France from 1834)

Oil on canvas

Winterhalter flattered his aristocratic patrons with suave compositions that conveyed their wealth and sophistication. Typical of his clientele was Leonilla (1816-1918), a Russian-born princess active in fashionable Parisian circles. She is portrayed reclining on a luxurious carpet amid silk bolsters on the portico of a seaside palace. Although the setting was considered exotic and her pose daring, the sumptuous gown is a reminder of Leonilla’s refined background.

[me again]

This portrait dominates its side of the room. When I entered I noticed a couple examining the lower part of the painting, and I wondered what they were looking at. When I got a chance to approach closer I understood; the moiré patterns Winterhalter painted in the silk gown are amazing.

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