PROMENADE DANS LA NEIGE
James Jacques Joseph Tissot
PROMENADE DANS LA NEIGE
An original hand-signed James Tissot Etching.
(A Winter’s Walk)
Original etching with drypoint printed in black ink on laid paper bearing a crescent moon topped shield containing the letters “BFK” surmounting the block lettered “RIVES” watermark
Hand-signed in pencil in the title margin below the image lower left J. Tissot, also signed and dated in the plate in the title margin lower right.
A superb, richly printed impression of Wentworth’s first state of three, printed prior to the addition of the text from a poem by Keats to the plate in the title margin, from the edition of well less than 100 in this state. Bearing the artist’s red monogram stamp (Lugt 1545) in the title margin lower right which Tissot affixed only to those impressions from any given edition which he considered to be the finest (he reserved these impressions for his own collection)
Catalog: Wentworth 48 i/iii; Tissot 43; Beraldi 47.
Platemark: 22 1/4 x 10 3/8 inchesSheet size: 24 x 14 7/16 inches
When exhibited in Manchester in 1878, the painted version of “Promenade dans la neige” was described as “a fairy form enveloped in furs, out of which we have a peep of a sweet and enticing face.” For the final work in Tissot’s series of seasons, Kathleen Newton poses once again, wearing a huge fur collar and muff. Under the print the artist includes a line from Keats’s poem “Fancy”: “She will bring in spite of frost / Beauties that the earth hath lost,” suggesting the idea of her youthful vitality challenging the frozen landscape. Illustrating the stark contrasts of wintertime, her velvety black stole stands out against the flat white of the snow. Behind the woman an evergreen, symbolizing the eternal aspect of nature, which will rejuvenate in the spring, spreads its branches in a virtuoso display of Tissot’s talents as an etcher. The tall narrow format of the plate, the flat planes of the composition and above all the dramatic use of the expressive form of the silhouette show Tissot’s adaptation of the elements of Japanese art at its most impressive.
During his lifetime Tissot’s etchings were more consistently admired then his paintings, and he was included in numerous compilations and reference works on this technique. As a painter who etched his own work, he was unusual. Far from being rote copies of his pictures by other hands, his etchings are original works of art in their own right.