Monday, 15 October 2012

James Tissot and Kathleen Newton In An Armchair

'Kathleen Newton In An Armchair' (1878) by James Tissot; Private Collection

I had already decided on doing today's post on French painter James Tissot, born on 15 October 1836, but to choose a painting was a bit difficult because there are many that I like. Eventually I chose this portrait of Kathleen Newton because while reading Tissot's biography online, the thing that drew my attention was the relationship between him and Kathleen Newton. She was his mistress and muse and is the subject in many of his paintings. When she moved into his London home, Tissot withdrew from social life and lived quietly at home with the love of his life. She died at the age of 28 from an overdosis of laudanum. Tissot was overcome by grief and didn't leave her coffin for four days. He never recovered from her tragic death and moved back to Paris (his house in London was sold to Alma-Tadema). He never got romantically involved with a woman again and dedicated the rest of his life to painting religious scenes. If you are interested in reading about Tissot's artistic life, click on his name above.

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