James Jacques Joseph Tissot (October 15, 1836 – August 8, 1902)
was a French painter.
He fought in the Franco-Prussian War, and, falling under
suspicion as a Communard, left Paris for London. Here he studied
etching with Sir Seymour Haden, drew caricatures for Vanity Fair,
and painted portraits as well as genre subjects.
Sometime in the 1870s Tissot met a divorcee, Mrs. Kathleen
Newton, who became his companion and the model for many of his
paintings. Mrs. Newton moved into Tissot's household in 1876 and
lived with him until her suicide in the late stages of consumption
in 1882 at the age of 28.
It was many years before he turned to the chief labor of his
career - the production of a series of 700 water-color drawings to
illustrate the life of Christ and the Old Testament. He disappeared
from Paris, whither he had returned after the death of Kathleen
Newton, and went to Palestine. In 1896 the series of 350 drawings of
incidents in the life of Christ was exhibited in Paris, and the
following year found them on show in London. They were then
published by the firm of Lemercier in Paris, who had paid him
1,100,000 francs for them. (Over 500 related drawings, watercolors
and oils are now in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.)