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James Tissot



James Tissot
Nantes 1836 – Buillon, France, 1902






Oil on canvas


216.5 x 108.7 cm


Gift of Lord Strathcona and family, inv. 1927.410


Western Art

Mrs. Newton was twenty-two years old, the mother of two illegitimate children when James Tissot met her; she was also a beautiful divorcee. Theirs would have been a perfect happiness had tuberculosis not claimed the life of the painter’s graceful and notorious muse, leaving him inconsolable. One of the largest works by this artist, October exemplifies the social behaviour and fleeting fashion of its time. Elegantly corseted, Mrs. Newton turns towards the viewer, a touch flirtatiously, showing a well-turned ankle in the rustle of lace petticoats, her boot treading a carpet of autumn leaves. Dressed in black in this season of decline, she shines with the glow of her last fire. Signs of Japonisme here are the verticality inspired by kakemono scrolls and the tumultuous background of chestnut trees, through whose leaves and branches can just be made out a small group of deer.

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