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DELAWARE ART MUSEUM ANNOUNCES DISPLAY OF TISSOT PAINTINGS
Wilmington, DE (November 29, 2006)—The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to announce a display of three oil paintings by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902), featuring Mavourneen, Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1877; Dans la serre [In the Conservatory], c. 1875-79; and Young Ladies Admiring Japanese Objects, 1869. These works were generously loaned to the Museum by a private collector and are on view in Gallery 1 through March 30, 2007. A renowned painter of high society, Tissot was friendly with James McNeill Whistler and Edgar Degas and equally comfortable in France and in England, where he was enthusiastically received by the upper class elite whose customs were depicted in his paintings.
Tissot was born in Nantes, France, in 1836. The early part of his career was spent in his Paris, where he was trained. Although he began painting medieval scenes, he soon turned to contemporary life as his primary subject matter. In 1871, Tissot left France for England. Within a few years of his arrival in London, he met and began living with Kathleen Newton. Once in England, the focus of his paintings became more narrative. He was a master at capturing subtle nuances of social interaction, a talent which his English patrons found particularly fascinating.
Mavourneen, Portrait of Kathleen Newton is one of Tissot’s earliest portraits of his beautiful mistress and primary model. She appears before a window, dressed stylishly in a fur-trimmed jacket. Tissot was an astute observer of the most recent fashions in women’s clothing, an aspect of his work that was much appreciated by his patrons. The unidentified model in Dans la serre is also dressed in the height of fashion in a dress without a bustle, reflecting the latest in haute couture.
Tissot’s work also reflects what was at the time a new interest in Asian art, as seen in Young Ladies Admiring Japanese Objects. With the opening of Japanese ports to the West in 1854, a whole new world of Japanese culture became available to Europeans. Like his friend Edgar Degas, Tissot was an early collector of Japanese art. This special display will also feature works from the Museum’s permanent collection, including three Japanese color woodblock prints that reveal Tissot’s close scrutiny of Asian imagery.
Founded in 1912, the Delaware Art Museum holds a world-renowned collection that focuses on American art and illustration from the 19th to the 21st century as well as the British pre-Raphaelite movement of the mid-19th century. The Museum offers the outdoor Copeland Sculpture Park, the Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives, studio art classes, the interactive Kids’ Corner learning area, the delART Café featuring free Wi-Fi access, and the Museum Store with distinctive books and gifts. Waking Dreams: The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites from the Delaware Art Museum is on an international tour and will return in September 2007.