It is with pleasure that we unveil a hitherto unrecorded painting by the highly important anglophile painter James Tissot. The painting was discovered in a private collection and after extensive research and the assistance of Krystyna Matyjaszkiewicz we were able to confirm the works authenticity. The painting dates to between 1860 and 1863 and depicts the subject of a theatrical evening at the home of Prince Napoleon Bonaparte which would be situated today at 18 Avenue Montaigne in Paris and was called the Maison Pompeienne. Prince Napoleon lived there between 1860 when the house was completed and 1866 when he fled to his countryside home after enraging his cousin Napoleon III. The house was demolished in 1891.
The work shows numerous figures enjoying an evening of music and dance under the guise of a Commedia Dell’Arte. We can see in the image a Colombine and Harlequin as well as Japanese inspired figures which fit with Tissot’s known interest in Japonaiserie.
The painting is very personal and was likely painted from the memory of his visit as the columns in the scene are differently configured than in the actual Library of the Maison Pompeienne, images of which are available on public record.
A fascinating work by this master painter – it is accompanied by an extensive essay on the painting by Krystyna Matyjaszkiewicz who was the co-author of the recent publication entitled James Tissot which was written in collaboration with Melissa E. Buron and published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2019.