Tissot consistently defied convention in both his professional and personal life. His contributions to the academy and the avant-garde are documented by participation at diverse venues such as the Paris Salon as well as London’s Royal Academy and the Grosvenor and Dudley Galleries. This exhibition explores his multifaceted career with a fresh perspective and original scholarship and will also question where and how Tissot should be situated in narratives of the nineteenth-century canon.
Tissot was arguably a painter of modern life although he did not formally belong to the Impressionist circle and never exhibited in their group shows, despite an invitation from Edgar Degas.
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris are co-organizing James Tissot: Fashion & Faith, the first major reassessment of the artist’s career in over 20 years. In San Francisco, this international retrospective will examine approximately 60 paintings, additional works on paper, and cloisonné enamels by Tissot. Exhibition highlights are drawn from the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, including Tissot’s Self Portrait (ca. 1865) as well as prints and photographs from the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. New scholarship on the artist presented in this collaboration demonstrates that even Tissot’s most ebullient society paintings reveal rich and complex commentary on topics such as nineteenth-century society, religion, fashion, and politics, rendering him an artist worthy of reexamination in the twenty-first century.