Le banc de jardin (The Garden Bench). 1883. Mezzotint. Tissot 79, Béraldi 66, Wentworth 75.ii/iii. 16 1/2 x 22 1/8 (sheet 21 1/2 x 28 1/2). Edition about 500 in three states. Printed in brown/black ink on chine appliqué (China paper mounted on stiff wove paper). Signed and titled in the plate. Housed in a 27 x 35-inch burled wood frame with a silk mat and gold liner.
This is the mezzotint version of a painting of the same title. The models for the composition were Kathleen Newton, her daughter Violet, her niece Belle, and her son Cecil, seated on a bench in Tissotâ€™s garden in St. John's Wood, London. The stylization of the figures, both in pose and in grouping is a highlight of Tissotâ€™s later style.
Le Banc Jardin is one of a small group of mezzotint studies that Tissot made in England between 1883 and 1885. It is characteristic of his facility as a printmaker that his first plate in an extremely difficult medium should be so brilliantly conceived and executed. The quality of inner glowing light and the richness in the combination of blacks and the pattern highlights are striking. The contrast of textures -- the fur rug, the silk of the dresses, and the foliage beyond -- are a tour-de-force of printmaking.
Although the season is summer, the pointillist-style dots on the flowers and clothing suggest winter.
James Jacques Joseph Tissot (October 15, 1836 - August 8, 1902) was a French painter.Tissot was born at Nantes. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Ingres, Flandrin and Lamothe, and exhibited in the Paris Salon for the first time at the age of twenty-three. In 1855 Tissot moved to Paris, where he studied under Delaunay, Louis Lamothe, and Hippolyte Flandrin. Lamothe, who had been a pupil of Ingres, introduced him to Edgar Degas. The two men became close friends. Another friendship formed at this time was with James McNeill Whistler. Two portraits, including one of Tissot's mother, were among the artist's first exhibits at the Paris Salon in 1859In 1861 he showed The Meeting of Faust and Marguerite, which was purchased by the state for the Luxembourg Gallery. His first characteristic period made him a painter of the charms of women. Demi-mondaine would be more accurate as a description of the series of studies he called La Femme a Paris.
A selection of fine prints by Tissot is available on the Allinson Gallery, Inc. website.