(France, England 1836–1902)
116.0 x 74.3cm sight; 154.5 x 114.0 x 10.0cm frame
Though not without a mawkish quality, this atypical work by the French painter James Tissot bespeaks an essential sincerity. The identity of the father clinging so morosely to his child is not known. They may simply have been models. The setting, however, can be identified as the garden of Tissot's London residence in St John's Wood, a property that later passed to his colleague, the 'olympian' painter Alma-Tadema. 'The widower' has the moralising overtones of a Victorian problem picture, and it may be to the English taste for such images that Tissot was deliberately appealing. His liaison with a divorcee - a woman he frequently painted and clearly adored - placed him beyond the pale of conventional society, and beyond its patronage. It is almost tempting to see Tissot himself as the widower of the title, a man unhappily denied his mate. Technically, the work is an exercise in painterly probity: Tissot's rendering of vegetation, fabric and flesh is impressive.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
Sir Colin and Lady Morna Anderson, pre 1939, Gift of Sir Colin and Lady Anderson 1939
John H Downes, circa 1888, by 1888, lent by Downes to the 'International exhibition' Glasgow 1888
J.P. Davis, 1877
Angus Trumble (Australia) (Curator), Love and Death: art in the age of Queen Victoria, Adelaide, 2001, 132, 133 (colour illus.).
Nancy Rose Marshall (United States of America) (Author), Malcolm Warner (United States of America) (Author), James Tissot: Victorian Life / Modern Love, New Haven, 1999, 112, 113 (colour illus.). cat.no. 46
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 40 (colour illus.).
Peter Tomory (United Kingdom) (Author), Anne Kirker (New Zealand; Australia, b.1947) (Author), British painting 1800-1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 169. cat.no. 2160
Ewen McDonald (Australia) (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, Sydney, 1994, 137 (colour illus.).
Renée Free (Australia) (Author), Rose Peel (Australia) (Author), Dreams and realities: Victorian works on paper, Domain, 1993, 4.
Michael Wentworth (Author), James Tissot, Japan, 1988, 69. plate no. 29
Annabel Davie (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, Domain, 1988, 44, 48, 49 (colour illus.).
Renée Free (Australia) (Author), Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 198 (illus.).
Christopher Wood (England, b.1941) (Author), Tissot: the life and work of Jacques Joseph Tissot 1836-1902, London, 1986, 98, 100, 111.
Michael Wentworth (Author), James Tissot, Oxford, 1984, 138-9. plate no. 122
Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia, estab. 1874) (Author), Victorian Social conscience, Sydney, 1976. cat.no. 62
Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Domain, 1972, 31 (colour illus.).
James Laver (Author), Vulgar Society. The Romantic Career of James Tissot 1836-1902, London, 1936, 38.
Author Unknown (Author), International Exhibition Glasgow, Glasgow, 1888, 130. cat.no. 2247, as lent by John H. Downes
Alfred de Lostalot (Author), Society of French Aquarellists, Paris, 1883, 372 (illus.).
The Times 01 May 1877, 01 May 1877.
Article written by Oscar Wilde., The University Magazine 1877, 1877, 126.
Unknown, Grosvenor Gallery, London 1877, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877–1877.
Glasgow International Exhibition, 1888, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1888–1888.
Victorian Social Conscience, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 13 Aug 1976–19 Sep 1976.
James Tissot, Isetan Museum of Art, 28 Feb 1988–29 Mar 1988.
James Tissot, Daimaru Museum, Osaka Umeda, 20 Apr 1988–09 May 1988.
James Tissot, Mie Prefectural Art Museum, 14 May 1988–12 Jun 1988.
James Tissot, Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, 19 Jun 1988–14 Aug 1988.
James Tissot, Yokohama Takashimaya Gallery, 01 Sep 1988–13 Sep 1988.
Victorian Childhood, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 08 Feb 1999–19 Mar 1999.
James Tissot: Victorian Life / Modern Love, Yale Center for British Art, 22 Sep 1999–28 Nov 1999.
James Tissot: Victorian Life / Modern Love, Musée du Québec, 15 Dec 1999–12 Mar 2000.
James Tissot: Victorian Life / Modern Love, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 24 Mar 2000–02 Jul 2000.
James Tissot, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, 14 Jul 2001–11 Nov 2001.
Love and Death: art in the age of Queen Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, 07 Dec 2001–03 Feb 2002.
Love and Death: art in the age of Queen Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, 30 May 2002–28 Jul 2002.
Love and Death: art in the age of Queen Victoria, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, 24 Aug 2002–24 Nov 2002.