Portrait of James Tissot (1867-68) by Edgar Degas

Portrait of James Tissot - Edgar Degas - 1867 - 1868

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Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of James Tissot
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1867 - 1868
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions151.4 x 111.8 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, US

About Portrait of James Tissot

The artwork in focus is a portrait created by the renowned artist Edgar Degas between 1867 and 1868. This oil on canvas masterpiece, depicting James Tissot, is a fine example of the Realism art movement. Dimensions of the artwork are 151.4 by 111.8 centimeters. Currently, it can be viewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art located in New York City, NY, USA.

In this arresting portrait, the subject, James Tissot, is portrayed in a moment of casual repose, seated in a studio-like environment. His demeanor is relaxed yet alert, as he leans back into his chair with one leg crossed over the other, creating a diagonal line that adds dynamic interest to the composition. He holds a walking stick, which, together with his hands and the positioning of his limbs, guides the viewer’s eye through the work. Degas captures the likening with a deft realism, evident in the detailed rendering of Tissot’s facial features, clothes, and the surrounding objects.

The interior setting includes an array of art-related items, which suggest Tissot’s artistic profession. To the right of Tissot, a canvas is visible, revealing an artwork-in-progress that adds a layer of depth to the setting. A framed picture hangs on the wall, contributing to the narrative by showing another layer of portraiture within the portrait itself. The muted colors and the careful attention to lighting grant the artwork a somber yet intimate ambiance, revealing Degas’s skillful manipulation of oil paints to achieve a rich and sophisticated effect. The background features an indistinct representation of a painting that implies a lively social scene, providing a contrast to the solitary figure of Tissot, while the texture of the brushwork throughout the composition reflects a dedication to conveying the tangible reality of the artist’s world.

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