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Collection

An image of The Widower by James Tissot

James Tissot

(France, England 15 Oct 1836 – 08 Aug 1902)

Title
The Widower
Year
1876
Media category
Painting
Materials used
oil on canvas
Dimensions

116.3 x 75.5 cm sight; 154.5 x 104.0 x 10.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l., brown oil "JJ Tissot 1876".
Credit
Gift of Sir Colin and Lady Anderson 1939
Accession number
6697
Location
19th c European art
Further information

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.

Provenance (3)

J.P. Davis, 1877

John H Downes, circa 1888, by 1888, lent by Downes to the 'International exhibition' Glasgow 1888

Sir Colin and Lady Morna Anderson, pre 1939, Gift of Sir Colin and Lady Anderson 1939

Bibliography (18)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Victorian Social conscience, Sydney, 1976. cat.no. 62

Alfred de Lostalot, Society of French Aquarellists, Paris, 1883, 372 (illus.).

Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 137 (colour illus.).

Renée Free and Rose Peel, Dreams and realities: Victorian works on paper, Sydney, 1993, 4.

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 44, 48, 49 (colour illus.).

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 198 (illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 40 (colour illus.).

James Laver, Vulgar Society. The Romantic Career of James Tissot 1836-1902, London, 1936, 38.

Nancy Rose Marshall, James Tissot: Victorian Life / Modern Love, 'In the garden', pg. 105-119, New Haven, 1999, 112, 113 (colour illus.). cat.no. 46

Peter Tomory and Anne Kirker, British painting 1800-1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 169. cat.no. 2160

Angus Trumble (Curator), Love and death: art in the age of Queen Victoria, Adelaide, 2001, 132, 133 (colour illus.).

Michael Justin Wentworth, James Tissot, Oxford, 1984, 138-9. plate no. 122

Michael Justin Wentworth, James Tissot, Japan, 1988, 69. plate no. 29

Oscar Wilde., The University Magazine, Article written, Unknown, 1877, 126.

Christopher Wood, Tissot: the life and work of Jacques Joseph Tissot 1836-1902, London, 1986, 98, 100, 111.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Times, 01 May 1877.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 31 (colour illus.).

Author Unknown, International Exhibition Glasgow, Glasgow, 1888, 130. cat.no. 2247, as lent by John H. Downes

Exhibition history (7)

Unknown, Grosvenor Gallery, London 1877, Grosvenor Gallery, London, England, 1877–1877

Glasgow International Exhibition, 1888, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1888–1888

Victorian Social Conscience, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Aug 1976–19 Sep 1976

James Tissot:

Victorian Childhood, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Feb 1999–19 Mar 1999

James Tissot: Victorian Life / Modern Love:

Love and death: art in the age of Queen Victoria: