Tissot: The Life and Work of Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836-1902

Christopher Wood, Author Little Brown and Company $60 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8212-1635-4
James Tissot's paintings of pretty, elegant women may seem the epitome of Victorian aristocratic life. But as this lavish monograph points out, he mostly portrayed the newly rich middle classes, not the aristocracy, and his pictures reflected their insecurities as well as their need to be flattered. Dismissed today by most critics as superficial and trite, his paintings nevertheless enjoy considerable popularity both for their period charm and their detailed mirroring of a society. London art dealer Wood, author of three books on Victorian painting, offers a wide-angled view: the painter's youthful medieval craze and his late religious canvases triggered by the death of his mistress get their full due, even though the latter look hopelessly stagey. Tissot's love scenes are mysterious dramas pregnant with emotion, and his pictures of shopgirls and circus performers have the offhand quality of works by his friends Degas and Manet. (October 15)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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