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Self fashioning, Consumption, and Japonisme : The Power of Collecting in Tissot's Jeunes Femmes Regardant des Objets Japonais 1869 by Catherine Elizabeth Turner A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Art and Art History College of The Arts University of South Florida Major Professor: Heather Vinson, M.A. Elisabeth Fraser, Ph.D. Nol Schiller, Ph.D. Date of Approval: November 6, 2009 Keywords: Napoleon III, Second Empire, bibelot fetish, commodity Copyright 2009, Catherine Elizabeth Turner
i Table of Contents List of Figures ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... ii Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. iv Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 1 Chapter One: A Social History of Collecting in Second Empire Paris and Tissot's Prelude to Japonisme ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 20 Chapter Two: The Function of Freudian Fetish in Jeunes Femmes Regardant des O bjets Japonais ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 42 Chapter Three: "The Religion of Sensuous Desire": The Social Life of the Collec tible and Bourgeois Self Fashioning in Tissot's Jeunes Femmes Regardant des Objets Japonais ................................ ................................ ................... 65 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 85 Bibliography ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 89
ii List of Figures Figure 1. James Tissot, Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais (1869). Unknown ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 2 Figure 2. James Tissot, Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais 1869). Private Collection, London, England3 ................................ ............................... 3 Figure 3. James Tissot, Jeunes femmes regardant des objet s japonais (1869). Cincinnati Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio ................................ .................... 4 Figure 4. James Tissot, Le Retour de l'enfant prodigue (1862). Private Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 5 Figure 5. James Tissot, Quiet (1881). Private Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 11 Figure 6. James Tissot, The Letter (1867 78). National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa ................................ ................................ ............ 12 Figure 7. James Tissot, Boarding the Yacht (1873). Private Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 13 Figure 8. James Tissot, Journey of the Magi (Matthew 2:2) (1894). Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota ................................ .............. 14 Figure 9. James Tissot. Japonaise au Bain (1864). Muse des Beaux Arts, Dijon, France ................................ ................................ ......... 26 Figure 10. James Tissot. Jeune femme tenant des objets japonais (1865). Private Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 27 Figure 11. Claude Monet Madame Monet in a Kimono (La Japonaise) (1876). Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts ................................ ................ 33 Figure 12. Henri Toulouse Lautrec. Lily Grenier in a Kimono (1888). New York. Private Collection ................................ ................................ ...................... 34 Figure 13. James Tissot. Detail, Japonaise au Bain (1864). Muse des Beaux Arts, Dijon, France ................................ ................................ ......... 35
iii Figure 14. James Tissot. Portrait of Tokugawa Akitake (1868). Museum of the Tokugawa Family (Sh k kan), Mito, Japan ................................ ................................ .............................. 38 Figure 15. James Tissot. Detail of Signature, Portrait of Tokugawa Akitake (1868). Historical Museum of the Tokugawa Family (Sh k kan), Mito, Japan ................................ ................................ .............................. 39 Figure 16. James Tissot. La Rencontre de Faust et de Marguerite ( 1860). Muse d'Orsay, Paris ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 40 Figure 17. Alfred Stevens. Lady with a Japanese Doll (1894). Private Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 50 Figure 18. Jan Vermeer. Woman Reading a Letter (ca. 1662). Staaltiche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden ................................ ................................ ....... 51 Figure 19. James Tissot. Une Veuve (1868 ) P rivate Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 53 Figure 20. Willem Kalf. Chinese Bowl with Nautilus Cup (1662). Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid ................................ ................................ .......... 54 Figure 21. James Tissot. Detail of Shipping Crate. Jeunes Femmes Regardant des Objets Japonais (1869). Cincinnati Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio ................................ ............................... 61 Figure 22. Jean Lon Grme. The Reception of Siamese Ambassadors at Fountainebleau. Chateau de Versailles, France ................................ .......................... 67 Figure 23. James Tissot. Detail of Altar. Jeunes Femmes Regardant des Objets Japonais (1869). Cincinnati Museu m of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio ................................ ............................... 78 Figure 24. Eugene Atget. Planche 48: "Intrieur de Mr B Collectionneur de Vaugirard." (c.1910). Muse Caranavalet, Paris ................................ ................................ ............................. 79 Figure 25. James Tissot. Detail of Model Ship. Jeunes Femmes Regardant des Objets Japonais (18 69). Cincinnati Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio ................................ ............................... 81
iv Self fashioning, Consumption and Japonisme The Power of Collecting in Tissot's Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais 1869 Catherine Elizabeth Turner ABSTRACT This study examines sel f fashioning and the practice of collecting in Second Empire Paris as manifest in James Tissot's Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais (1869, Cincinnati Museum of Art). The painting, exhibited in the Salon of 1869, conspicuously portrays Tissot's own collection of exotic Asian collectibles and the artist's private luxe interior. When scholars investigate and interpret Jeunes femmes it i s regularly defined within the prescriptive realm of Tissot's later London paintings, or of his well known series, L a Femme Paris. I argue for a less circumspect engagement with the painting, by focusing on the portrayal of the collectible objects and the decadent interior as evidence of bourgeois self fashioning and the decorous display and consumption concomitant wi th Second Empire Paris. This thesis considers the history of collecting in Second Empire Paris; in particular, the early impact of japonisme on Tissot's artwork. Recent scholarship largely regards Tissor's initial engagement with japonisme as demonstrate d by Japonaise au bain (1864, Muse des Beaux Arts, Dijon) and Jeune femme tenant des objets japonais (1865, Private Collection), as trite. I argue that such categorizing biased sound consideration of Jeunes femmes I investigate Tissot's interaction with Japanese
v aristocracy and contend that his appointment as drawing instructor to Prince Akitake marked a turning point in his artistic career and in his reputation as a collector. This thesis also explores the role of fetish as an operative analytical tool. By employing the theories of Freudian and Marxist fetish, I am able to scrutinize the collectible objects' inclusion and meticulous representation, account for the obsessive nature of the collector and investigate specific strategies of posturing and self promotion. Moreover, I can discuss the painting, and the collection it portrays, as a producing agent for Tissot's own artistic and social legacy. Ultimately, I conclude that Jeunes femmes a richly detailed painting of Tissot's collectibles and interior space, is implicitly concerned with bourgeois self fashioning and Tissot's own need for financial and social legitimization.
1 Introduction In 1869, James Tissot painted three compositions entitled Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais. Each of the three paintings depicts two young women gazing at valuable Japanese collectibles. Of particular interest, these paintings were all staged in Tissot's new home on the upscale Avenue de l'Imperatrice and all of the luxury collectibles and furnishings portrayed were part of Tissot's personal collection. Of t he three paintings, the first version's whereabouts are unknown (Fig. 1 ), 1 the second version is part of a private London collection (Fig. 2), and the third version, which was exhibited at the Salon of 1869, now resides in the Cincinnati Museum of Art (Fig. 3). 2 T he Cincinnati Jeunes femmes was the only version Tissot chose t o display publicly, and it is this painting that is the primary focus of this research. When it was displayed in 1869, the Cincinnati Jeunes femmes did not go unnoticed. Its small size (28 x 20 in.), its color palette, as well as the intimate domestic 1 Preparatory sketches for this painting and documents relating to it are housed at the Tate Gallery in London. 2 The painting is documented as Salon 1869, no. 2270. Tissot scholar Michael Wentworth suggested in 1984 that it is the London version that was displayed at the Salon. He bases this supposition on the existence of Goupil photographs, which sometimes documented Salon entries. See endnote 13 in Michael Wentworth, "Tis sot and Japonisme" in Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium, ed. Yamada Chisabur! (Tokyo: Committee for the Year 2001, 1980) 145. I base my assertion on publications from the late 1990's to early 2000, all of which show the Cincinnati version in ref erence to the Salon. The Cincinnati version also seems to better visually support the Salon reviews. Critiques such as "we seem to see two beautiful birds in their golden cage" are not as easily locatable in the other two compositions. See James Tissot: Vi ctorian Life/ Modern Love eds. Nancy Rose Marshall and Malcolm Warner (New Haven and London: Yale Center for British Arts, 1999) 44.
2 Figure 1. James Tissot, Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais, 1869. Oil on Canvas. Location Unknown.
3 Figure 2. James Tissot, Jeunes femm es regardant des objets japonais, 1869. Oil on Canvas. Private Collection, London. Figure 2. James Tissot, Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais, 1869. Oil on Canvas. Private Collection, London.
4 Figure 3. James Tiss ot, Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais, 1869. Oil on canvas, 71 x 51cm. Cincinnati Museum of Art
5 Figure 4. James Tissot, Le Retour de l'enfant prodigue, ( 1862). Oil on Canvas.
6 setting, all marked a depart ure from Tissot's earlier history paintings (Fig. 4). The depiction of the finely dressed young women, pressed uncomfortably close to the picture plane, surrounded by luxurious, exotic objects prompted one critic to comment that the painting should be tit led Objects looking at young ladies. 3 Specific scholarship on Tissot's genre paintings produced prior to both the Commune and his flight to London is lacking; however, Tissot's sumptuous rendering of the ladies' clothes and their environment have support ed the current trend in scholarship to read these and his subsequent paintings of women as commentaries on th e role of the nineteenth century bourgeois woman in both the domestic and public sphere. My thesis attempts to shift the current direction of resea rch by focusing not on the women in these paintings, but on the domestic interior itself and the collectible objects that this space contained By directing attention to the importance of collecting and consumption as salient self fashioning tools of the Second Empire Parisian bourgeois male, this thesis seeks to demonstrate that the Cincinnati Jeunes femmes is, for Tissot, a highly self referential painting involved in the process of Tissot's self fashioning and self authorization. 4 This approach suggests several thematic questions: How does the cultural history of collecting in Second Empire Paris, including the japonisme movement, inform Jeunes femmes (Chapter I) ? In what manner does Tissot's early japonisme inspired works and his later paintings of bour geois women bias a critical reading of this painting (Chapter I)? How does the size of the painting (28 x 20 in. ), its verisimilitude, and its subject matter function to secure Tissot's artistic and 3 Quoted in Christopher Wood, Tissot: The Life and Work of Jacques Joseph Tissot 1836 1902 (New York: Little, Brown and Co mpany), 37. 4 The term "self fashioning" is coming from Stephen Greenblatt. For more information see Stephen Greenblatt's Renaissance Self Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).
7 social legacy (Chapter II)? Finally, g iven that the colle ctibles, as well as the interior space portrayed in Jeunes femmes belong to Tissot, as scholars Michael Wentworth, Ikegami Ch gi, and Nancy Rose Marshall have demonstrated, how does the determined and meticulous portrayal of this domestic space in a publi cly displayed pain ting se rve to propagate Tissot's secure affiliation with the bourgeoisie, legitimize his financial success and m ake visual his personal prowess (Chapter III)? 5 It is with these questions in mind that I embark on my research. In order to b etter understand the visual implications of this painting in regard to the above mentioned questions, I begin with a visual analysis. Collecting Impressions: A Visual Analysis of Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais (1869) In this composition two young ladies stand side by side admiring a model Japanese trading ship. The woman on the right, stooped close to the miniature, is a visitor to the collection, as suggested by her costume and the fact that she has yet to remove her muff or her gloves. The young lady behind her, gazing intently at the ship, is dressed in a peignoir, a domestic gown, which indicates that she is the hostess. The highly detailed ship that holds their attention is supported by a packing crate, just barely concealed by a stretch of Japanese fabric. The crate is also obscured from immediate view by three legs of a Japanese side table. To the far left of these objects is a silk curtain, pulled forward enough to prohibit a clear view of the model ship and of the left hand side of th e room. The right side of the composition is dominated by a Japanese altar. Positioned behind the women, it functions not as a religious altar, but as a showcase for Japanese 5 See Michael Wentworth, "Tissot and Japonisme," in Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium (Committee for the Year 2000, 1984), 133. Ikegami Ch"gi, "James Tissot, "Drawing Instructor" of Tokugawa Akitake," in Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium (Committee for the Year 2000, 1984), 152 153. See also Nancy Rose Marshall and Malcolm Warn er, eds., James Tissot: Victorian Life/ Modern Love (Yale University Press: New Haven, 1999), 44.
8 dolls, of which three are visible. The reflectivity of the golden surface adds to the opulence of the object, while giving a sense of depth. The actual size of the altar, however, cannot be determined, as it falls off into the right hand side of the composition. Even the open drawers are cut short by the altar's placement. As a whol e, the composition is flattened into shallow pictorial space. The curtain does not permit entry, and blocks, to some degree, the dimensions of the room. The altar also compresses the composition, pushing against the space between the women and the wall. Ul timately, the viewer is positioned looking into the corner of the room. From this view, the room is tightly arranged with the women sidled between the enormous altar on one hand, and a boat and a curtain on the other. Moreover, the meticulously detailed r ug and tile run at a horizontal angle, drawing the eye across, but not into the composition, therefore aiding in the appearance of flattened space. The heavy barred walls also emphasize this sense of compression, while their design is then reiterated in th e bars of the altar doors. The abundance of articles: the ship, the table, the plants both in the planter in the foreground and the ones that are growing wildly in the corner behind the women the altar, the dolls, the replication of colors, and the repetit ion of Japanese motifs, all produce a dizzying, almost claustrophobic effect. This effect is only made stronger by the painting's small size (28 x 20 in.), wherein the collectible objects' size, detailed representation and proximity to each other imbue the m with a life and vitality beyond their own materiality. Privileging a Gendered Gaze: Assessing the Critical Fortunes of Tissot and the Historiography of Tissot Scholarship
9 Many aspects of Jeunes femmes have gone uninvestigated due to a lack of focused research on this painting and of Tissot's uvre in general. Until the 1980's, historically sound research on Tissot was sparse. Tissot's first biography, Vulgar Society: The Romantic Career of James Tissot written by costume historian James Laver in 1936 is most noted for its humorous, though erroneous biographical information and for the characterization and promotion of Tissot's art as indispensable for fashion and costume historians. Any formal attempt to re evaluate Tissot's artistic merit would not occur until the first retrospective exhibition of his work in 1968. The exhibition catalog from the James Jacques Joseph Tissot: 1836 1902, A Retrospective Exhibition 6 marked the first attempt to re investigate Tissot's art istic practice as well as to pro vide more historically sound biographical information. 7 While the catalog expanded Tissot scholarship beyond the limited scope of Laver's research, it was not until the mid 1980's that new exhibition catalogs and more substantial literature would be publi shed. Christopher Wood's The Life and Work of Jacques James Tissot 1836 1902 8 classifies Tissot's art into distinct periods of artistic production. In attempting to organize the various phases of Tissot's career Wood demonstrated the versatility of the ar tist, resolutely renouncing the 6 David S Brooke, Michael Wentworth and Henri Zerner, eds., James Jacques Joseph Tissot: 1836 1902, A Retrospective Exhibition Preface by Daniel Robbins and William J. Winthrow (Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, 1968). 7 In the catalog's introduction, Henri Zerner makes a distinct point to link Tissot to major French artists like Edgar D egas and Gustav Courbet, yet Zerner's scholarship is ultimately more concerned with the artistic production of Tissot's London years a scholarly trend that continues today. He does place a new emphasis on the psychology of the paintings, suggesting that the London women in Tissot's paintings are types that are a projec tion of Tissot, himself. While I am not comfortable with the unsubstantiated psychoanalytical reading of Tissot's London paintings, it is Zerner's exploration into the psychology of Tissot's oeuvre that refocuses scholarly inquiry away from viewing Tissot as a fashion illustrator, and instead places him uneasily amongst the official painters of the nineteenth century, and the avant garde. 8 Christopher Wood, Tissot: The Life and Work of Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836 1902 (Little Brown and Co.: Boston, 1986).
10 conceptualization of Tissot as a "fashion plate artist." 9 It is from Wood's investigation of Tissot that four main branches of Tissot study take shape: Tissot as a painter of women, whom Wood, like Zerner, sees as well dress ed stock figures who "are simply images of Tissot himself (Fig. 5);" 10 Tissot as a painter of "ambiguity" and "paradox" whose paintings are as complex as the artist himself (Fig. 6); Tissot as humorist, comic ally capturing the mores and foi bles of London's social climbers and nouveau riche (Fig. 7); and lastly, Tissot as a religious painter (Fig. 8), whose paintings of modern life are framed by the medieval, mostly religiously based historical paintings of his early career, and the biblical illustrations on which he worked until he died. These subsets of scholarly int erest are again indicated in a catalog from 1984, James Tissot edited by Krystyna Matyjaszkiewicz, in which the chapters are organized into comparable categories. 11 Since Tissot's death, ther e have only been three monographic exhibitions on the artist resulting in three critical catalogues. Tissot's works have only just recently been featured prominently in other exhibitions of nineteenth century French painting. In addition, Tissot has been t he subject of two critical catalogue raisonns. Of the critical literature published on Tissot, this thesis is most indebted to Nancy Rose Marshall's careful visual analysis of the Cincinnati Jeunes femmes in the catalog James Tissot: Victorian Life/ Moder n Love (1999) 12 and to the scholarship of Tamar Garb 13 and 9 Wood, 11. 10 Ibid., 12 13. 11 Krystyna Matyjaszkiewickz, ed., James Tissot (New York: Barbican Art Gallery, 1984). 12 Nancy Rose Marshall and Malcolm Warner, eds., James Tissot: Victorian Life/ Modern Love (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 1999), 4 4.
11 Elizabeth Prelinger, 14 whose essays in t he book Seductive Surfaces: The Art of Tissot 15 were published the same year. Tamar Garb focuses her research around the portrayal of the women's costume in Tisso t's La Femme Paris series positing that the decorously dressed French bourgeois woman is a status symbol for the austere masculine subject. Her ultimate argument, that Tissot's paintings of Parisian women function to offer the female to the intended mal e viewer for conspicuous consumption, takes a Figure 5. James Tissot. Quiet (c.1881). Oil on Canvas, 27 x 36 in. Private Collection. 13 Tamar Garb "Painting the Parisienne': James Tissot and the Making of the Modern Woman," in Seductive Surfaces : The Art of James Tissot ed., Katharine Lochman (Yale University Press: New Haven, 1999), 95 120 14 Elizabeth Prelinger, "Tissot as Symboli st and Fetishist? A Surmise," in Seductive Surface s : The Art of James Tissot ed., Katharine Lochman (Yale University Press: New Haven, 1999), 185 212. 15 Katharine Lochman, ed., Seductive Surfaces: The Art of Tissot (New Haven: Yale University Press, 199 9).
12 Figure 6. James Tissot. The Letter (c.1876 78). Oil on Canvas. 28 # x 42 # in. Nationa l Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
13 Figure 7. James Tissot. Boarding the Yacht (1873). Oil on Canvas. Private Collection
14 Figure 8. Jam es Tissot. Journey of the Magi 1894 Oil on Canvas. Minneapolis Institute of the Arts.
15 Freudian bent as she suggests that Tissot's construction of femininity, the fashionable rendering of the woman's costume and her dainty comportment, and the social atmosphere in which the woman is portrayed, all serve to distract from the medusa beneath a symbol of the threat of castration and the possible unleashing of "the hideous monster which fuels the fetishized image of Woman known as the Parisienne.'" 16 It is Elizabeth Prelinger's contention, 17 like Garb's, that the women in Tiss ot's paintings are portrayed as commodities, 18 and she links the repetitive appearance of fur and velvet in Tissot's paintings to female genitalia, an explicitly Freudian evocation of fetish. 19 The overtones of Garb and Prelinger's research are evident in th e synopsis of the Cincinnati Jeunes femmes written in the catalog James Tissot: Victorian Life/Modern Love In her description, Marshall identifies some of the Japanese collectibles that Tissot portrayed in the composition, and offers the most extensive v isual analysis of the painting to date. Similar to Garb and Prelinger, she concludes, "Though the women may view the Japanese objects, they are themselves objects to be viewed." 20 Scholarship on Tissot has expanded in both scope and methodology since the 1980's. Nevertheless, while the still current practice of understanding the well dressed female players in his paintings as mere commodities may have been useful for having 16 Garb, 116. 17 Prelinger 185 212. 18 Prelinger 200. 19 Ibid., 202. 20 Nancy Rose Marshall and Malcolm Warner, eds., James Tissot: Victorian Life/ Modern Love (Yale University Press: New Haven, 1999), 44.
16 offered a greater variety of critical perspectives on Tissot's work at the time, ar guably this approach is becoming both trite and prescriptive given more art historical contributions to studies of gender. Rather than assume that all of Tissot's paintings of Parisian women, both from his pre Commune and post London years, can be read as a cohesive testament to the artist's obsession with feminine decorum and fashion my thesis attempts to locate Jeunes femmes in the explicit socio historical background in which it was created the waning Second Empire, in order to investigate Tissot's pai nting, and his artful construction of self as a bourgeois collector. What did it mean to collect rare, foreign and expensive objets in a burgeoning capitalist market that offered more opportunities for collecting than ever before? Why might one choose to s eek and collect these objects in the shadow of the Empire? And furthermore, what might it mean for an ambitious artist to possibly emulate the collecting practices of Empress Eugnie? Chapter Outline With these questions in mind, my thesis begins by pro v iding a socio historical analysis of collecting in the Second Empire. As collecting had a long, varied history, Chapter One primarily provides a backdrop for the time in which Tissot collected and painted. It also addresses the rise of the erudite or "true collector according to privileged, male members of the bourgeoisie, and collecting as a masculine, competitive endeavor intrinsically li nked to showmanship The second half of Chapter O ne provides a focused account of Ti ssot, Whistler, and other artist s early engagement with japonisme I argue that early japonisme inspired works by Tissot prejudiced subsequent considerations of Jeunes femmes Lastly, this chapter explores Tissot's appointment as drawing master to Prince Akitake, positing that
17 this affi liation with Japanese royalty validated both his collection and his position as a legitimate bourgeois japoniste. Such an experience and such a claim to social authority may have provoked other collectors and japonistes to jealousy, thereby leading them to discount Tissot's collection and to criticize his representation of it in Jeunes femmes Chapter T wo responds to the treatment of fetish offered by both Garb and Prelinger. However, rather than merely expand upon the current discourse concerning Freudian fetish and the women, this chapter adapts their theoretical lens to instead focus on the collectible objects in the painting. While the metonymic relationship implicit in psychoanalytical fetishism lends itself well to women's clothing or feminine accoutr ements, its application is not restricted to these items and should also be considered in relation to the luxurious collectibles portrayed in Jeunes femmes As Judith Butler argues, the structure of scopophilia and the persistent possibility of the transfe rence of an imaginary phallus sanction the reality that the phallus can be found anywhere. 21 By focusing on the collectible items in the painting, my theoretical framework shifts to also include both Walter Benjamin and Susan Stewart who analyze the ninetee nth century collector's need to acquire objects that are containers, or are that which can be contained. The juxtaposition between container and containment, exposed and hidden, is concomitant with Freud's theory of disavowal. These suppositions are latent in Jeunes femmes where most of the coll ectible objects are containers and where luxury satin and silk coverlets reveal as they conceal. I also consider Susan Pearce's study on collecting. Specifically, I treat her conception of the collection as a memori al, 21 Judith Butler argues that if the phallus can b e found in any body part than it also can be found in no part. Her conceptualization of the phallus is one that is inherently transferable. See Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex (New York: Routledge, 1993), 57 92.
18 arguing that the collector could assuage fears of mortality through seeking immortality via his collection. Chapter T wo also engages Hal Foster's interpretation of the uncanny in seventeenth century Dutch still life paintings. 22 While a contested artic le, Foster's research offers an illuminating way to consider Tissot's own work, as it is the objects that are the focus of fetish and, as in Tissot's work, it is the verisimilitude with which these sumptuous collectibles are rendered that leads Foster to c onsider seventeenth century Dutch still life painting in terms of Freudian fetish. Rather than extend the Freudian analysis of Tissot's paintings of women, I contend that it is imperative to locate Karl Marx's version of fetish in Jeunes femmes 23 As co llecting is a social practice regulated by ideologies of nationality, gender, class, value, and exchange, Marx 's conceptualization of fetish, in which the commodity and social practice play prominent roles, is a provocative starting point from which to inv estigate the covetable nature of Tissot's collection and the function of the collector within that desiring exchange. In addition to discussing Marx's version of fetish as applicable to Jeunes femmes this chapter considers Empress Eugnie's own collection and display of Asian collectibles as a possible prototype to Ti ssot's deliberate public showcase My methodology is informed by Karl Marx's Capital: A Critique of Political Economy 24 as well as by the scholarship of Arjun Appadurai, 25 whose research into t he 22 Hal Fos ter,"The Art of Fetishism: Notes on Dutch Still Life," i n Fetishism as Cultural Discourse eds. Emily Apter and William Pietz (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993), 251 265 23 Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of the Political Economy ed., Fre derick Engels, trans., Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling (New York: Random House, 1906) 81 96. 24 See footnote 23. 25 Arjun Appadurai, "Introduction: Commodities and the Politics of Value," in The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective ed. Arjun Appadurai (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) 3 63.
19 authority of the object is rooted in Marxist fetish and is pertinent to Tissot's estimation and depiction of his own collection. Lastly, this chapter examines the particular collectibles that Tissot included in Jeunes femmes the artist's desire for the m to be esteemed and publi cly validated, and their conspicuous presence as evidence of Tissot's own self fashioning and desire for self authorization. To this extent Thorstein Veblen 26 and Leora Auslander 27 are also referenced for their work on self fashioni ng and the metaphysical nature of the collectible, respectively. This thesis endeavors to posit new questions to a previously understudied painting. By shifting the theoretical framework from the women in the painting to the luxurious objects that surrou nd them, this study is contributing to scholarship on nineteenth century collecting, the japonisme movement in Second Empire Paris, as well as participating in extant discourse concerning the application of fetishism as tool of visual analysis for the art historian. Through an investigation of modes of self fashioning and Tissot's own social aspirations, as suggested by this painting, this thesis not only addresses the social posturing of a Parisian Second Empire bourgeois artist, but also speculates about Tissot's public affiliations and personal desires. Such speculations nuance our understanding of the painting and the artist subject 26 Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (New York and London: MacMillan Co. 1899) 27 Leora Auslander, Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern Fra nce (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996)
20 Chapter One: A Social History of Collecting in Second Empire Paris and Tissot's Prelude to Japonisme Invest igating the social history of collecting in Paris, and in particular, understanding how collecting in Second Empire Paris served as a powerful indicator of the collector's social standing, learnedness, and financial prestige, persuasively nuances and enlig htens current views of both the character and function of James Tissot's Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais (1869). Specifically, such historical inquiry redefines Jeunes femmes as a culturally charged, personally opportune, and historically relev ant painting. Rather than assume Jeunes femmes to be a trite cavort with japonisme "exploiting a fashionable fad with considerable success, as his [Tissot's] grand house and studio amply demonstrated," 28 I want to position the painting as a powerful attes tation to the perceived virility of the collectible and to Tissot's own self fashioning strategies as a Parisian bourgeois collector. 29 Before further considering the impact of collecting on the nineteenth century Parisian bourgeoisie, I would like to cl arify the use of the term bibelot as I will be using it in this paper. Often used interchangeably with curiosits, objets d'art or with the 28 Wood, 38. 29 Not all celebrated collections were owned by men. The Empress Eugnie, for example, maintained a collection of Chinese articles appropriated from Yuanming Yan, which was displayed in the Tu ileries. Later, she kept a more personal, though also publicly displayed collection in her Muse Chinois in Fountainebleau. The Empress, however, is a notable exception. For more information on the looting of Yuanming Yuan and the Empress' collection, see Greg Thomas "The Looting of Yuanming Yuan and the Translation of Chinese Art in Europe," Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide 7, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 1 37, http://www.19thc artworldwide.org/autumn_08/articles/thom_print.html, 7 October 2008.
21 frequently dismissive or pejorative sense of bric brac, the connotation of the word bibelo t, and what it signifie s changes dependant on the decade in which one is writing, and often, the tone of the writer. Although the term bibelot can be traced to the Middle Ages, French literature scholar, Ronda Janell Watson attests that the term's connotation evolved rapidly, a nd somewhat confusedly between 1840 and 1900. 30 In 1883, when Ernest Bosc published his Dictionnaire de l'art, de la curiosit et du bibelot he defined the bibelot as a "term which originally designated tools, utensils and a diverse array of objects of litt le value is now used by collectors and antiquarians to principally designate objets d'art and curiosities." 31 In the body of this paper, it is to this definition that I will be referring a definition that replaces the original understanding of the word bibe lot as referring to an everyday object and its use value with the implication of an objet d'art Bibelot is used interchangeably in this paper with collectible, curiosity, or art object; however, specifically in relation to Tissot's personal collection, bi belot implies a luxurious, or exotic item, whether or not such modifiers are explicitly utilized. Bibelot does, however, suggest a smaller item and not all of the objects depicted in Jeunes femmes are small. Some, such as the altar, are quite immense. To t his end, I will be reserving bibelot for the smaller items in the collection, such as the Japanese model boat, the vases, and the Japanese dolls. In 1850's, with the introduction of the World's Fair, collecting arguably became less concerned with the re mnants of France's royal past and more invested in the rarities 30 Ronda Janell Watso n, Literature and Material Culture from Balzac to Proust: The Collection and Consumption of Curiosities (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 8 9. 31 Ernest Bosc, Dictionnaire de l'art, de la curiosit et du bibelot ( Paris: Firmin Didot), 100. French: Ce term, qui son origine ne servait qu' designer des outils, des utensiles et des objets trs divers et de peu de valuer est aujourd'hui employ par les amateurs et les antiquaries pour designer principalement des objets d'art et de curiosit ."
22 and exotic items of non European cultures. 32 It was also during this time that collecting became increasingly considered as a distinct, formative activity of the French bourgeois male. In her a rticle, "The Gendering of Consumer Practices in Nineteenth Century France," Leora Auslander describes the frenzied hunt for the next great treasure, and the attempts to outwit both the other bidders and the auctioneer at the auction house, as transforming over the decades from being associated with hoarding, impulse, and buyer's mania (though collecting as a practice never completely lost its monomaniac affiliations) to signifying a masculine habitude regulated by rules of the hunt. 33 As they searched out sp ecific pieces to fulfill their collections, collectors were careful hunters who cunningly demanded the best prices. Moreover, they arranged their coveted objects in a manner that spoke not of an historically, or an ethnographically unified past, but of the collectors themselves. Collecting, by the fall of the Second Empire and the early days of the Third Empire could be classified as "a challenge, a proving ground, a hurdle separating the boys from the men and the men from the women." 34 For the gentlemen, co llecting became a smart self fashioning tool for creating an individual place among (and often, above) one's peers, as well as a means for staking one's claim as an authentic, and rightful member of the bourgeoisie. That is not to say that one form of col lecting eradicated the other. There were still the marketplaces, the magasins the curio shops, and the chance vendors who sold trifles 32 For a solid discourse on the introduction of Japanese art into Western Europe, see Toshio Watanabe, "The Western Image of Japanese Art in the Late Edo Period," Modern Asian Studies Vol 18. No.4 Special Issue: Edo Culture and Its Modern Legacy (1984), 6 67 684. See also Siegfried Wichmann, Japonisme: The Japanese Influence on Western Art since 1858 trans., Mary Whitehall et. al., (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1981) 8 11. 33 Leora Auslander, "The Gendering of Consumer Practices in Nineteenth Century Fra nce," in The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective eds., Victoria de Grazia and Ellen Furlough (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996) 86 87. 34 Leora Auslander, "Gendering," 85.
23 for fortunes to unwitting and purportedly undereducated buyers. 35 With the introduction of the grand magasin (e.g. the Bo n March in1850) consumers could easily purchase domestically manufactured, mechanically produced curios They could also purchase exotic imports created specifically for international trade, which often mimicked the vases, furniture, or knick knacks of pe riods past. In this manner, the petit bourgeoisie were able to furnish their houses and start their own collections. In short, they were able to mimic the practices of the bourgeoisie. 36 As external signifiers of one's social class became harder to determin e and authenticate collecting as an activity of the legitimate bourgeoisie placed greater emphasis on authenticity, erudition and aestheticism. It is important that in his Dictionnaire de l'art, de la curiosit et du bibelot Ernest Bosc includes a synopsi s of two very different types of collectors. According to his description, there are the ostensible gentlemen for whom money and leisure are no issue. For this group of men, collecting was merely a game of the senses; it was a pleasurable social endeavor, a carefree trip. It did not matter whether one ignorantly purchased a new trinket or stumbled upon a valuable object. But "to work diligently, with fierce tenacity, that's another thing. His [the "true" collector's] work in the house of curios, that is hi s [the "true" collector's] minor defect." 37 This passage suggests that by the 1880's the dividing 35 References to such undereducated, or vor acious buyers are made in contemporaneous works of fiction, such as Emile Zola's character Madame Marty in The Ladies' Paradise trans. not listed, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992), 72 79. See also Honor de Balzac, Cousin Pons trans. H erbert J. Hunt (London: The Penguin Group, 1968), 43 53. 36 For more information on the practice of the petit bourgeoisie mimicking the bourgeoisie, see T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers (Princeton: Prince ton University Press, 1984), 147 204. 37 For the sake of brevity, I summarized the first half of Bosc's description. However, the full passage reads: "Or le curieux est ncessairement un homme riche et de loisir, c'est dire un "gentlemen" qui aime beaucou p voir, flaneur, toucher, palper, voyager sans soucis d'aucune sorte; la causerie entre amis, entre confreres, voil son fait; raconter les bonnes aubaines, les belles occasions, rire demi et mme sourire des achats d'un jeune tourneau ou d'un curieux aussi riche qu'ignorant, voil son affaire:
24 line between the nouveau riche whom Bosc classifies as the ignorant collector, and for whom he satirically utilizes the English term "gentlemen," and the lear ned, astute collector, who is associated with the legitimate or proper bourgeoisie, was an already apparent cultural classification. Through terms such as "minor defect" Bosc also alludes to the obsessive nature manifest in the bourgeois practice of collec ting. I believe that the cultural significance of collecting as an efficacious indicator of social class and personal distinction, as demonstrated through Bosc's description of the two types of collectors, is a motivating factor in the creation and display of Tissot's Jeunes femmes Both the manner in which he attained his collectibles and the mode in which he visually appropriates and represents his personal collection aim to position Tissot socially as a legitimate member of the Parisian bourgeoisie and personally, as a learned, premier japoniste Although Tissot enjoyed a considerable income from the sale of his paintings, garnering jealousy from his peers and affording him the ability to live on the affluent Avenue de l'Imperatrice a new road carved out by Haussman, he was not born into the haute bourgeoisie into which he later tried to assimilate. By the mid to late 1860's, Tissot's lucrative and new found financial success, paired with the derisive comments made of him by Paris' social elite, such a s Champfleury and Edmond de Goncourt, may well have been enough impetus for Tissot to produce a painting contemporaneous with the mores and desires of his audience, while simultaneously validating both his claim to the haute bourgeoisie and his reputation as an artist. Given Tissot's burgeoning financial status, his sensitive social standing, and the context of collecting as a class conscious, formative act in Second Empire Paris, one wonders why Jeunes femmes is so often mais travailler assidment, avec acharnement, c'est autre chose; le travail chez le curieux . c'est la moindre dfaut." Dictionnaire de l'art 15.
25 dismissed by recent art historians as a superficial attempt at japonisme ; or, as a painting of pretty women, a less successful predecessor to his more popular London paintings. 38 I believe that if Jeunes femmes is perceived as trite, such labeling is due, in large part, to the tepid recepti on of two of Tissot's earlier compositions depicting women and Japanese objects, Japonaise au bain (1864) (Fig. 9) and Jeune femme tenant des objets japonais (1865) (Fig.10). Japonaise au bain and Jeune femme tenant des objets japonais were among the firs t publicly displayed paintings inspired by Europe's newfound fascination with objects and art from Japan. In 1861, when Japan participated in the London World's Fair, Europeans were introduced to Japanese art and objets d'ar t on a grand scale. This is not to say that Japan's participation in the World's Fair provided the West with its first exposure to Japanese art or Japanese ceramics. However, before Commodore Perry's U.S. naval expedition to Japan in 1853 and the subsequent opening of the Japanese por ts, trade exports were under the sole control of the Dutch. 39 Therefore, Japanese vases and Japanese collectible objects that reached the European market were filtered through Dutch merchants. Ultimately, prior to Japan's introduction in the World's Fair, m uch of 38 See Michael Wentworth "Tissot and Japonisme" in Ja ponisme in Art: An International Symposium ed., Yamada Chisobur! (Tokyo: Committee for the Year 2001), 128 129. See also, Wood, 37 38. 39 Commodore Matthew Perry was a Naval Officer in the United States Navy responsible for opening several ports of Japan t o the United States. His treaty between Japan and the U.S. was reached during the Convention of Kanagawa, and was later replicated by France and England, ending Japan's long history of isolation.
26 Figure 9. James Tissot, Japonaise au Bain (1864). Oil on Canvas, 208 x 124 cm Muse des Beaux Arts, Dijon, France.
27 Figure 10 James Tissot, Jeunes femme tenant des objets japonais (c. 1865). Oil on Panel. 18 x 14 in. Private Collect ion.
28 the Japanese collectibles available to European consumers were mistaken for Chinese or Indian imports. 40 The opening of the ports allowed for more Japanese objects to be available to French collectors, while the presence of Japan in the World's Fair both invigorated the market for Japanese bibelots and exposed European artists on a broad scale, to a new form of Asian aesthetics. Japan's participation in the World's Fair of 1861 also preempted the opening of trendy teashops and Asian boutiques in both London and Paris. In Paris, Tissot, along with British based artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and James McNeill Whistler, as well as notable writers such as Champfleury and the Goncourt brothers, frequented the well reputed la Porte Chinoise locat ed on the affluent Rue de Rivoli. Although Edmond de Goncourt would describe this store as "a school" for expanding the "grand japanese movement 41 it seems that even in this early stage of japonisme the acquisition of Japanese bibelots was already evolvin g into a competitive tool for showmanship. In contrast to Goncourt's gentlemanly description of la Porte Chinoise as a seat for cross cultural knowledge, letters from artists paint the store as a hotbed of contentious consumption, where the appetite to obt ain costumes, prints and vases could border on ferocious. The proclivity to buy as much as one could, when one could, is evident in Whistler's directive to artist Henri Fatin Latour to go to la Porte Chinoise and set aside 40 Toshio Watanabe, "The Western Image of Japanese Art in the Late Edo Period," Modern Asian Studies Vol. 18, No. 4, Special Issue: Edo Culture and Its Modern Legacy (1984) 667. 41 Quoted in Genevive Lacambre, "Les milieux japonisants Paris, 1860 1880," in Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium ed. Yamada Chisabur! (Tokyo: Committee for the Year 2000, 1980) 46. Ce magasin a t l'endroit, l'cole pour ainsi dire o s'est labor ce grand mouvement japonais qui s'tend aujourd'hui la peinture et la mode."
29 "all the costumes" for him. 42 Thi s enthusiastic consumption is further exemplified by Dante Gabriel Rossetti's letter to his mother, written after a discouraging visit to a shockingly understocked la Porte Chinoise : I have bought very little only four Japanese books, . but found all the costumes were being snapped up by a French artist, Tissot, who it seems is doing three Japanese pictures which the mistress of the shop described to me as the three wonders of the world, evidently in her opinion quite throwing Whistler in the shade 43 The "wonders of the world" of which Rossetti writes are commonly attributed to both Tissot's Japonaise au bain and Jeune femme tenant des objets japonais. Both paintings are concurrent with the description offered in Rossetti's letter, as well as bein g contemporary to Whistler's own first attempts at Japanese inspired paintings. They are also emblematic of a growing societal phenomenon, one whose mainstream interaction with Japanese and Chinese culture was mainly fashionable, based on the consumption a nd appropriation of goods removed from their cultural context. In Japonaise au bain contrary to the painting's title, the model, despite her long black hair and shading around the eyes, is clearly European. Her coy tilted head and direct gaze is highly se xual. Art historian Christopher Wood labels this painting as "an uneasy, vaguely pornographic image, which cannot be accounted one of Tissot's most successful works, although it is his only large female nude." 44 Indeed, if this painting is to be seen as ove rtly sexual, its sexuality is only augmented by the larger than life size of the composition (208 x 124 42 Whistler writes Fantin Latour in Paris and ask s that he go to la Porte Chinois and set aside "tous les costumes ." Quoted in Robin Spencer, "Whistler and Japan: Work in Progress," Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium ed. Yamada Chisabur! (Tokyo: Committee for the Year 2000, 1980) 61. Original source, Whistler to Fantin Latour, n.d. [June 1864] Library of Congress, E.R. and J. Pennell Collection. 43 Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Letters 4 vols., eds., Oswald Doughty and John Robert Wahl, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 2:524. 44 Wood, 37.
30 cm.) and by the artfully painted kimono, whose contours draw the eye across the breasts of the model and down to the pubic area, which the robe barely c onceals. If, in French paintings of the Orient, "plants like palm trees become archetypal markers of the exotic, even when abstracted from their desert oasis habitat" 45 so, too, in japonisme inspired paintings did the kimono signify the exotic, even when wo rn by a clearly European model. A year later, when he completed Jeune femme tenant des objets japonais he seemed to correct some of the crude features of his earlier composition. The blatant sexuality of the female figure is replaced with a model wh ose k imono is tightly wrapped and the European facial features are exchanged for decidedly Asian ones. Scholars generally attribute these Asian features to the use of a Japanese doll, similar to the ones displayed in Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais rather than a Japanese model. 46 Aside from these provisional transformations, Tissot's portrayal of Japanese culture is equally synthetic in the latter painting. The Japanese prints and vases portrayed have no relation to the models other than the fact tha t they are all purportedly Japanese. And, i n both compositions, the models are placed in nonspecific spaces. The lush garden of Jeune femme tenant des objets is meant to refer to the exotic, but the "where" cannot be precisely determined. Likewise, we know by the painting's title that Japonaise au bain is situated at a bathhouse, a setting depicted in many Japanese prints available to European collectors at the time. But, there is nothing about this composition that 45 Roger Ben jamin, Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism and French North Africa, 1880 1930 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 42. 46 This fact is generally agreed upon by all Tissot scholars. However, Alan Scott Pate gives a particularly detailed ide ntification of the doll that may have been used in his book Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningyo (Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2008) 32.
31 positions the model in a precise geograph ic location. The marginality of locale may add to the nineteenth century artist's exotic, or even eroticized, notions of the "other," 47 but it ultimately functions to propel, rather than diminish, the claims of shallowness or contrivance that continue to be associated with Tissot's early encounters with japonisme. While noted Tissot scholar Michael Wentworth calls Japonaise au bain "superficial yet attractively eccentric japonaiserie ," 48 and Christopher Wood describes both Japonaise au bain and Jeune femme tenant des objet japonaise as "basically trivial, and deliberately so, making no serious demands on the viewer's intellect [ . .] superficial as they are," 49 it is important to consider Japonaise au bain and Jeune femme tenant des objets japonais as part of the continuum of Europeans' artistic appropriation of Japanese art in the nineteenth century. And if the paintings seem a shallow engagement with the fashionable, one should bear in mind that even into the late 1870's and 80's, celebrated artists like Claude Monet and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec were still painting European women in kimonos contrived as costume or leisure wear. (Figs. 11, 12). Historian Toshio Watanabe argues against dismissing Tissot's Japonaise au bain as simple frivolity. While Watan abe may have been unaware of the art historical discourse surrounding these early compositions, he personally describes Japonais au bain as "striking, almost shocking" and points to the "small opening in the background where the composition with the big la ntern and the temple has been borrowed from Asakusa 47 Although written mainly about the Middle East, Edward Said's Orientalism provides a base for understanding n otions of the "other" and the hegemony of France over the Orient. See Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York:Vintage Books, 1979), 1 28. 48 Wentworth, "Japonisme," 129. 49 Wood, 38.
32 Kinry zan by Hiroshige, a print from the series Edo meisho hyakkei (Fig. 13). 50 Tissot changed the season of the print, from winter to spring, to better compliment his composition. Watanabe attributes t his variance as proof of the artist's engagement with the print. 51 In a painting deemed "superficial," Watanabe's defense of Japonaise au bain is unique And while it would be presumptuous to claim that these two primary examples of japonisme by Tissot are products of a mature, profound engagement with Japanese culture, it would also be imprudent to dismiss them as careless trifles. Still these two paintings do not depict an ethnographically informed version of Japanese culture. In his first attempts with j aponisme Tissot paints a construct that is not based in a mature interaction with a new culture, but instead, is the result of a fashionably aesthetic response to the new commodities that this culture afforded. Or perhaps, as Wentworth humorously surmised : There is a real attempt at accuracy in this assembly of Japanese goods, and if it fails, it fails only from a lack of information which alone could have guaranteed its success. As Ingres has been called "a Chinese artist lost in Greece," Tissot might be considered a Northern primitive set loose, if not in Japan itself, at least at Mme Desoye's [ la Porte Chinoise ] in the rue de Rivoli. 52 The question therefore becomes, what occurred during the years 1865 and 1869 that would change both Tissot's percep tion and portrayal of Japanese c ollectibles? What factors might encourage the art historian to consider the version of Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais displayed at the Salon of 1869 as a painting distinct and 50 Watanabe, 675. 51 Ibid ., 675. 52 Michael Wentworth, "Tissot and Japonisme," 129. The term "accuracy" is referring to the visual acuity of Tissot. As a painter of high verisimilitude, Wentworth assumes that a certain amount of visual accuracy is to be expected.
33 Figure 11. Claude Monet. Madame Monet in a Kimono (La Japonaise) 1876. Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
34 Figure 12. Henri Toulouse Lautrec. Lily Grenier in a Kimono, 1888. New York, Private Collection. Figure 12. Henri Toulouse Lautrec Lily Grenier in a Kimon o, 1888. New York, Privatbesitz.
35 Figure 13. James Tissot. Detail of Lantern. Japonaise au bain (1864). Muse des Beaux Arts, Dijon, France
36 removed from Tissot's earlier Japanese influenced compositions? And how might the historical and visual evidence lead one to a more nuanced understanding of Tissot's encounter with the culture and art objects of Japan? Tissot's Japonaise au bain and Jeunes femme tenant des objets japonais may be ill received by art historians; however, in the late 18 60's, these paintings, as well as Tissot's paintings of modern life, must have impressed the Japanese royalty. In 1867, when Japan participated in the World's Fair in Paris, Prince Akitake spent ten months there in order to obtain an impressive Western edu cation. This instruction included a variety of subjects, from the pastimes of the bourgeoisie, such as fenci ng and equestrian sports, to a liberal arts education suitable for a young man of royal lineage. Ikegami Ch ji, the first scholar to discover and s tudy an unpublished diary of Tokugawa Akitake maintains that during the Prince's sojourn in Paris, his private drawing instructor was none other than James Tissot. This connection was convincingly solidified in 1980 when Ch ji discovered a lost watercolor portrait of Prince Akitake (Fig. 14). The painting contains the inscription "Paris/ 27 Septembre / 1868/ au prince Mimboutaiou / souvenir/ affectuex / J.J. Tissot" (Fig.15). 53 Such a n august teaching appointment to Japanese royalty would have no doubt, boost ed Tissot's position among fellow Japonists and perhaps, other artists. It also would have offered him an authoritative interaction with Japanese culture a cross cultural experience that could not be replicated through the consumption of kimonos, prints o r other Asian bibelots It is also during this time that Tissot's mode of collection becomes more selective. Larger, luxurious, more exceptional objets augment and even overshadow the kimonos, vases and prints. The acquisition of 53 Ch"ji, 147 153.
37 these collectibles was att ributed to the sale of Japanese articles after the close of World's Fair in 1867. And c ertainly, Tissot was financially successful enough to afford such impressive objects. One could also argue that due to his position as drawing instructor to Prince Akit ake, Tissot would now have the propensity to make more erudite decisions when selecting additions to his collection. 54 However, Ch ji proposes that Tissot's collection was largely indebted to parting gifts presented to him upon Akitake's return to Japan. 55 U nfortunately, Prince Akitake's diary entries are sparse and there is no further narrative concerning his relationship with Tissot. Nonetheless, Ch ji's well supported suggestion that Tissot's reputable Asian collection was bolstered, if not fostered, by hi s interaction with Japanese aristocracy, explains both the notoriety of his collection and Tissot's transformation from an affected painter of frivolous japonaiseries to a learned, esteemed collector $ a collector whose interactions with Japanese royalty ser ved to authenticate his collection, and to secure his position as a rightful member of the bourgeoisie. Prince Akitake and his companions departed Paris in October of 1868. 56 Shortly afterward, Tissot opened his studio containing his impressive collection of Asian bibelots and objets to artists and bourgeois members of Parisian society. His collection, as well as 54 It should be noted that Tissot combined both Japan ese and Chinese articles in his "Japanese" collection. This practice was both common during this period and unproblematic. But, it does show that at least some of Tissot's well reputed collection was personally purchased. For more information on the practi ce of combining, or even misidentifying, Japanese and Chinese collectibles see Genevive Lacambre, "Les milieux japonisants Paris 1860 1880, in Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium ed. Yama da Chisabur! (Committee for the Year 2000: Tokyo), 43 56. For specific collectibles depicted in the London version of Tissot's Jeunes femmes that have been identified as Chinese, rather that Japanese, see Wentworth's "Tissot and Japonisme," 145, endnote 14 55 Wentworth, "Tissot and Japonisme," 133 and Ch"ji, "Drawing Instructor," 151 153. 56 Ch"ji,152.
38 Figure 14. James Tissot Portrait of Prince Akitake Tokugawa, 1868 Tokyo, Japan. Private Collection.
39 Figure 15. James Tissot. Detail of signature. Portrait of Prince Akitake Tokugawa, 1868 Tokyo, Japan. Private Collection.
40 his unabashed display of it, garnered rapid attention. Within a month of Tissot opening his studio doors, Champfleury published an article in La Vie parisienne title d La Mode des japoniaiseries ." 57 Champfleury was a noted opponent of the japonisme inspired society paintings considered en vogue at the time of his article's publication. However, like Tissot, Champfleury was an early collector of Japanese bibelots Ikeg ami Ch ji suggests that the vituperative and satirical tone of this article commences with the title. He argues that the word japoniaiseries ," as it is spelled and used in the title, is a "newly coined word combining japon and niaiserie (nonsense)." 58 It i s clear from the article that Champfleury does not take Tissot, his collection, or the public affection to it, seriously. Rather than celebrate the exoticism and opulence of Tissot's acquired collection, or the eruditeness of their selection and display as evidence of the collector's distinction, Champfleury's carefully constructed rhetoric characterizes Tissot as a "young painter, rich enough to display his wealth through a small home on the Champs Elyses ." 59 He scoffingly describes the ladies and gentleme n who visit the home as playing dress up with Japanese costumes and declares his fatigue with the class of presumed "painters of elegant society ." 60 He continues we [Champfleury and his sympathizers] are weary of their Japanese cabinets, of their Japanese flowers and of their laquerware and their bronzes which take the principle place on their canvases and play just as a considerable 57 Champfleury La Mode des japonaiseries ," La Vie Parisienne 21 November 18 68, 862 863; rpt. in Champfleury, Le Ralisme eds. Genevive and Jean Lacambre (Paris: Hermann, 1973) 143 145. 58 Ch"ji, 152. 59 Rpt in Lacambre, op. cit, p. 143. Much of the satirical tone of the statement is lost in translation. French: un jeune peintre assez richement dot par la fortune s'offrir un petit hotel dans les Champs El yses ." 60 Ibid., 145. French: Dj meme de prtendus peintres de la via lgante nous fatiguent de leurs cabinets japonais, de leurs fleurs japonais, de leurs laques et de leurs bronzes japonais qui prennent la place principale sur la toile et jouent in r le bien autrement considerable que les personages.
41 role as the figures, themselves." 61 His caustic tone, his own status as a collector of Japanese objects, and his standing as a legitimate member of the bourgeoisie, all recommend another reading of Champfleury's article. I suggest that Champfleury's social satire is less a protestation of the current state of society paintings and is, rather, a public mockery motivated by person al envy, and perhaps, more specifically, a collector's envy. Champfleury's article also sets the stage and tone for the reception of Jeunes femmes when it was first publicly displayed at the Salon in 1869. Rather than compliment Tissot's detailed repres entation of his collection and the two model bourgeois women whom admire it, art critics largely discarded the painting as trite and like Champfleury, complained that the representation of the collectibles overshadow the figures in the composition. I argu e below that art historical inquiry into Jeunes femmes has been limited by narrow interpretations of such contemporary art reviews. Furthermore, I suggest that the current trend of viewing the composition as a genre painting of bourgeois women in a luxurio us setting is too narrow. I theorize, rather, that the extant visual reading of Jeunes femmes in which the women are considered in terms of Freudian fetishism, is better augmented when it is the collectible objects, and not the women, that are the subject of said analysis. 61 Ibid., see footnote 60 for French
42 Chapter Two: The Function of Fruedian Fetish in Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais "Je sais bien, mais quand mme" ("I know, but nonetheless") Octave Mannoni 62 At the Paris Salon of 1869, James Tissot displayed a small painting of two young women carefully observing Japanese objects titled Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais (Fig. 3). As a previous Salon medal winner, Tissot could freely choose which painting s he wanted to show at the exhibition 63 His deliberate decision to exhibit a painting so intrinsically concerned with the portrayal of his own luxe domestic interior and notable collection of Asian valuables generally generated derisive commentary amongst critics. The verisimilitude with which Tisso t painted the bourgeois interior, the women, and the Asian bibelots prompted critic Elie Roy to state that "our industrial and artistic creations can perish, our morals and our fashions can fall into obscurity, but a picture by M. Tissot will be enough for archeologists of the future to reconstitute our epoch." 64 However, it was comments, such as Frdric Borgella's quip "Young women looking at Japanese objects, or objects looking at young women, it's all the same: chinoiserie that pervaded the painting's r eviews. 65 Borgella's review of Jeunes femmes 62 Octave Mannoni, Clefs pour l'Imaginaire (Paris: Seuil, 1969) 9 33; rpt. in Emily Apter, Feminizing the Fetish: Psychoanalysis and Narrative Obsession in Turn of the C entury France (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1991) 14. 63 Salon of 1866. 64 Eli Roy, L'Artiste July 1, 1869, 81. 65 Frdric Borgella, Le Globe June 4, 1869; quoted in Louis Auvray, "Salon de 1869: promenade travers l'exposition," Revue Art istique et Littraire XVII, 1869, pp. 11 12; quoted in Michael Justin Wentworth, "Tissot and Japonisme," in Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium ed. Yamada
43 is indeed rich with insight, connotation, and historical significance ; it has had long term effects well beyond the offhanded tone of its dismissal. Art historians have used Borgella's statement to support a rea ding of the painting that primarily focuses on the two young women, their narrative, and their aesthetic function in this composition. Furthermore, Borgella's commentary reflects the contemptuous tone of Champfleury's article in La Vie Parisienne in which Champfleury satirizes both Tissot's collection and the artist's supposed enno blement of it. 66 Specifically, Borgella echoes Champfleury's complaint that the Japanese objects play as much of a narrative role as the figures portrayed. And his flippant tone an d vocabulary also seem to indicate a similar uneasiness with Tissot's flagrant public display of his lavish domestic space and personal belongings. Borgella's summation of Tissot's painting in Le Globe as "objects looking at young women" is markedly prov ocative. Not only because he terms the composition a chinoiserie ," an historical attestation to the period's ease in combining, or even confusing, Japanese and Chinese collectibles, but also because he defines the representation of the collection as chin oiserie ." 67 Here, Borgella (whether inadvertently or not) disregards the collection's connection with Japanese royalty. Such an oversight derides the collectibles, and Tissot's affiliation with them, as unremarkable. Finally, the fecund connotations of Bor gella's characterization commodify the young women in the painting, designating them not as observers, but as mere objects to be viewed. Recent scholars have elucidated this last argument and suggest that the women in Tissot's Chisabur! (Tokyo, Kodansha International, Ltd., 1980), 133. French: Jeunes Femmes regardant des objets japonais ou des objets regardant des jeunes femmes, c'est tout un: matire de chinoiserie!" 66 See footnote 57. 67 See footnote 54 for more information about combining Japanese and Chinese collectibles.
44 compositions operate as femin ine commodities offered to the male gaze. This reading of both Jeunes femmes and of Tissot's subsequent paintings utilizes Freudian fetishism as a fundamental analytical tool. 68 Certainly, Tissot's fascination with fashionable women, and the detailed nature with which he depicted feminine accoutrements, connotes Freudian notions of fetish. 69 While Freud continued to develop his theory of fetishism throughout his career, his essay "Fetishism," published in 1927, provides a solid base from which to consider f etish in Tissot's painting In the article, Freud defines fetish as: not a substitute for any chance penis, but for a particular and quite special penis that had been extremely important in early childhood but had later been lost. That is to say, it [t he penis] should normally be given up, but the fetish is precisely designed to preserve it [the penis] from extinction." 70 Freud asserted that fetishistic behavior results from a young boy's realization that his mother does not have a penis. The recogni tion of this lack creates castr ation anxiety in the young male: the subconscious fear that the stability of his own genitalia (or innate authority) is no longer guaranteed. Ultimately, the experience leads the male to search out proxy phalluses to substitu te for the non existent maternal penis and to assuage his castration anxiety. Such replacement phalluses can be found in a variety of items that 68 I am referring to Tissot's subsequent paintings of women and modern life not to the religious works that he produced in his later years. 69 Modern art historian Elizabeth Prelinger also claim s that Tissot's fascination with textiles and textures is a Freudian evocation of fetish. See "Tissot as Symbolist and Fetishist? A Surmise," in Seductive Surfaces: The Art of James Tissot ed. Katharine Lochman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 1 85 212. 70 Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. XXI: The Future of an Illusion Civilization and its Discontents and Other Works (1927 1931) trans. and ed. James Strachey with Anna Freud, Alix Stra chey and Alan Tyson, London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Pyschoanalysis, 1961, 152. There are many psychoanalysts, including Freud himself, who have debated the nature of the phallus in reference to the anatomical penis. These debates are large and diverse and, for the most part, are outside the range of this paper. While my account references the "origin" of the fetish, the phallus as substitute penis, that is not to say that the phallus is the penis. Freud concludes, in other treatises that the phallus could be "found" in any body part. The ultimate distinction between the phallus and male genitalia still remains debatable. My summation of Freudian fetishism pertains to a more conservative view of Freud's writings and also assumes a hetero norm ative interpretation and application.
45 mirror the shape or character of genitalia. According to Freud, feet, noses, and sumptuous fabrics, such as vel vet and fur, were among the most common. 71 Certainly, Tissot's engagement with the fabric in women's clothing evokes Freudian fetishism. James Laver, Tissot's first biographer, describes Tissot's engrossment in near obsessive terms, "He excelled in depictin g the minuti of her toilet, the set of a hat, the fall of a flounce, even the material of which her clothes were made. No painter ever took more pains in the dressmaking of his figures than Tissot." 72 In light of Tissot's focus on women in both the public and private arenas, particularly during the prolific output of his London years and in his La Femme Paris series (ca. 1883 1885), it is understandable why one would want to assimilate the female figures in this earlier painting into the same visual voca bulary of Tissot's later paintings of fashionable women in modern society. There are stylistic similarities, such as the high finish and explicit rendering of the fabrics and textures in the women's outfits. The accretion of detail in Jeunes femmes such a s the delineated nature of the buttons on the white peignoir or the meticulous representation of the seam work, does encourage careful prolonged viewing. Furthermore, the fastidious representations of the luxury satin, the soft wool, the highly finished ki d leather, and the sensuous fur of the women's outfits all conjure Freudian interpretations of fetish. In Jeunes femmes, the fetishistic portrayal of the women's dresses is heightened by Tissot's depiction of a fur muff placed directly in front of the geni tal area of the woman in the center of the composition. In addition, the two women's outfits were both part of Tissot's personal collection and appear in other 71 Freud, 155. 72 James Laver, "Vulgar Society" The Romantic Career of James Tissot 1836 1902 (London: Constable and Co. Ltd, 1936) 10.
46 contemporary compositions. 73 Tissot's ownership of these costumes, and his repeated use and portr ayal of them in various paintings, not only suggests fetishistic behavior on the part of the artist, but visually, such repetition depersonalizes the female figures and codifies their appearance. It is also important to consider that the white outfit is a peignoir, a domestic gown typically worn in the morning, whereas the maroon outfit is a dress meant for the public sphere. Understood in this manner, the two women in this painting become not just sexual commodities, but the embodiment of Second Empire ide alized feminine types the championed, chaste, obedient domestic housewife and the celebrated bourgeois beauty of the social arena. To ignore the commodification of the women in Jeunes femmes would be to dismiss a large quantity of existing scholarship on Tissot's portrayal of women, society and fashion. Such ignorance would also fail to acknowledge fashion as a veritable part of the spectacle that was the Second Empire. Writing contemporaneously to the Salon of 1869, Nestor Roqueplan defines women as the "sparkling" counterparts to man's "drab" appearance. 74 The finery of the women's dresses and the excess of the fabrics, the textures, and even the sounds made by the petticoats as the women walked through the domestic and public spheres, all created a perfo rmance of femininity starkly contrasting the countenance of the Second Empire bourgeois male dressed in his somber black costume. 75 Woman was rendered as spectacle, as the native exotic. Thus, it is understandable why art historians would focus on the wome n in th is composition as 73 Such as L'Escalier, 1869, Oil on canvas, 20x14 in. (Sutton Place Foundation) 74 Par isine (Paris, 1869), 43. quoted in and trans., D. Roche, The Culture of Clothing, Dress and Fashion in the Ancien Rgime (Cambridge, England, 1994; tr. from French edition, 1989) 61; rpt. in Tamar Garb, Bodies of Modernity: Figure and Flesh in Fin de Sic le France (London: Thames and Hudson, 1998) 81. 75 Garb 81 113.
47 fetishized commodities It is equally understandable why critics from the Salon of 1869 should focus on the presence and depiction of the women in Jeunes femmes Seeking to define the female figures' relationships to the striking i nterior space and the exotic collectibles t hat frame their surrounding prompted one critic to conclude that the women exist as "beautiful birds in their golden cage" 76 More than an aesthetic characterization, the reference to birds and birdcages carries str ong sexual overtones. 77 The women, their sexuality, and their role as fetish are clearly an e ffective analytical tool in this painting. Howev er, I posit that the function of F reudian fetishism is not limited to the costumed women in the painting, but is als o at play in the rich bibelots and objets so meticulously portrayed in Jeunes femmes 78 Addressing the transference of the imaginary phallus in Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex Judith Butler employs the rules of logic to deconstruct Freud 's theory of the phallus, concluding that if the phallus can belong to any body part then it therefore can belong to no body part. Butler notes, "to be a property of all organs is to be a property necessary to no organ, a property defined by its very plast icity, transferability and expropriability ," and argues for a phallus that is 76 Roy, 81. 77 In nineteenth century France and England, visual references to women, birds and birdcages were well established visual tropes pertaining to young women's sexuality. See Elaine Sh efer, "The "Bird in the Cage" in the History of Sexuality: Sir John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt," Journal of the History of Sexuality 1, no. 3. (Jan., 1991): 446 480. E. de Jongh's Questions of Meaning: Theme and Motif in Dutch Seventeenth Ce ntury Painting (Leiden: Primavera Pres, 2000) 21 58, explores the visual and written history of birds and birdcages being associated with virginity and female genitalia dating back to the early seventeenth century. 78 There is no written proof that Tissot i s fetishizing the objects, and I am certainly not implying that all paintings of precious bibelots and objets are pictures of fetishized objects. However, while these objects are not an attempt to define Tissot's conscious fetishes, I am attempting to unde rstand the objects as tools of a social exchange and social practice. In this light, the objects are Tissots unconscious, motivated fetishes, which are read' by Tissot's ideal audience his fellow artists and japonistes as coveted, fetishized, symbolic obj ects. As it is my belief that this painting is involved with coveting and desire, I am making a conscious desicision to focus attention on fetish in this chapter and in the next.
48 both imaginary and transferable. 79 If the phallus can indeed be located anywhere, then conceptions of the licentious, covetous gaze, and the role of fetish, are not relegated to t he women in Jeunes femmes but should also be considered in relation to the collectible items that Tissot portrays with intimate hyperrealism and with which he was (arguably) more enamored. The transferability of the phallus is not an unfamiliar idea, but is a concept that continues to engage art historians, especially when considering paintings with an abundance of decadent objets de luxe While he is writing about seventeenth century Dutch still lifes, art historian Hal Foster's article "The Art of Feti shism: Notes on Dutch Still Life" 80 elucidates upon Freudian fetish, objecthood, and the conflict between representation and reception, all relevant themes in Tissot's Jeunes femmes As Foster admits "at first glance it is problematic to relate the discours e of fetishism to Dutch still life: the discourse hardly appears coherent, and given its modern provenance, it seems anachronistic to apply it to a distant practice." 81 Likewise, it may seem ahistorical, or even disjunctive, to discuss Tissot's nineteenth ce ntury painting, Jeunes femmes, in terms of seventeenth century Dutch still life. 82 However, from an art historical standpoint, it is agreed that Tissot had strong ties with northern artists, both historically and stylistically. 79 Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex (New Yo rk: Routledge, 1993) 61; emphasis author's. 80 Foster, 251 265. I would like to acknowledge that this article has come under scrutiny by some early modern art historians. Even Foster, in his article, concedes that his theory may cause friction among schola rs. This article represents just one way to look at early modern Dutch still life painting. 81 Ibid., 253. 82 Not all scholars would consider such comparisons problematic. Peter Demetz, for example, writes a thorough article on the relationship between seve nteenth century Dutch painting and the nineteenth century French realist writers, such as Gustav Flaubert. Demetz investigates the defenses of seventeenth century Dutch art based on three main arguments: ontological, aesthetic, and sociological. Ultimately he argues that a defense of Dutch painting "indicates that old traditions crumble and new provocative ones triumphantly emerge." See Peter Demetz, "Defenses of Dutch Painting and the Theory of Realism," Comparative Literature 15, no. 2 (Spring, 1963), 97 115.
49 He demonstrated a personal af finity for northern painterly techniques, particularly during his early career when Tissot appropriated the style Hendrick Leys (Fig. 16). 83 He also maintained connections with several contemporary Belgian painters throughout his life. 84 Furthermore, recent comparisons were made between the subject matter of Alfred Steven's genre paintings and Tissot's (Fig. 17). Stylistically, the small size of the canvas, the inclusion of the curtain peeking out of the left hand of the composition, the domestic interior, th e emphatic use of detail, and the high finish of the painting all hold strong visual parallels with seventeenth century Dutch cabinet paintings (Fig 18). I suggest that despite the presence of the two figures in the painting, the composition has more in Figure 16. James Tissot. The Meeting of Faust and Marguerite 1860. Oil on wood, 78 x117 cm Paris, Muse d'Orsay 83 Hendrik Leys was an artist from Antwerp who moved to Paris in the 1830's and with whom Tissot shared affection both in subject matter and in style. Tissot officially studied under Louis Lamothe and Hippolyte Flandrin at L'cole des Beaux arts 84 P relinger, 190 191.
50 Figure 17. Alfred Stevens. Lady with a Japanese Doll 1894. Oil on Canvas, 81.3 x 65.4 cm. Private Collection
51 Figure 18. Jan Vermeer. Woman Reading by a Window 1657. Gemldegalerie Dresden.
52 common with Dutch genre interiors than with other genres en vogue at the time. 85 The rigidity of the two fi gures, the compressed nature of the composition, and the female figures' inability to furnish the viewer with allegorical, didactic, or humorous narrative cues, so often found in Tissot's other genre paintings (Fig. 19) recommend an alternative reading. 86 I n particular, the consideration of Jeunes femmes in relation to Foster's investigation into Dutch still life paintings is expressly resonant if one regards the collectible items and the space in which they are displayed as being the primary motivators for Tissot's composition, and as those features with which the artist was most concerned. The intense verisimilitude of Tissot's painting is concurrent with Foster's assertion that "too many viewers have remarked upon the strange energy that emanates from the objects of Dutch still life for us not to admit a connection, [between Dutch still life and fetish]." 87 Foster postulates that the link between Dutch still life and fetish is particularly resonant in pronkstilleven such as Willem Kalf's Chinese Bowl and Nautilus Cup (Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid) (Fig. 20). The hyperrealism with which the different surfaces are depicted: the wool of the oriental rug against the cool, sleek, hard surface of the marble table, the reflectivity of the silver tray, the na utilus cup, the goblet, and the pulpy, juiciness of the just peeled lemon, all are formal characteristics of pronkstilleven paintings which display luxurious abundance with abundant detail. 85 I am referring to popular visual tropes and subject matter that pertain to this painting, such as birdcages, burgeoning sexuality or scenes of domesticity. See footnote below. 86 At this point in his career, Tissot's paintings either te nded to reference literary themes or common visual tropes. This tendency is demonstrated in the other painting he chose to exhibit in the Salon of 1869, Une Veuve in which a young widow, surrounded by icons of lust and love, stares demurely out at the view er. This painting references popular literary and visual motifs of young, lusting widows. 87 Foster, 253.
53 Figure 19. James Tissot, Une Veuve, 1868. Oil on Canvas, 6 9 x 75cm. Exhibited: Salon of 1869 Private Collection
54 Figure 20. Willem Kalf. Chinese Bowl and Nautilus Cup, 1662. Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid
55 Significantly, the word pronk comes from the Dutch word pronken which means "to show off." 88 The opul ent bibelots portrayed in Jeunes femmes c orrespond well with the sensuous characteristics of pronk paintings. However, it is not just the sumptuous rendering of fine objects or the licked finish of the canvas that engenders empathy between Jeunes femmes an d Dutch still life paintings. It is also the concerns that these paintings have with mortality, which Foster interprets as a further indication of Freudian fetish and the uncanny. 89 If the collection and portrayal of luxury items typically found in Dutch s till life painting (Fig. 20) seem to be "caught between two worlds not alive not dead" 90 as Foster proposes; then, the visual effect of presenting such objects, whose inherent temporality is preserved for (supposed) posterity in paint, not only creates an e ver present tension between the animate and the inanimate; but, also creates an effect of "deathly suspension, or as remarked before, of eerie animation, with the objects at once chilled and charged by the speculative glaze fixed upon them." 91 Though his p rose describes his reading of seventeenth century Dutch still life paintings, Foster's insights and conclusions are oddly correspondent to the rhetoric surrounding both collectors and the collecting culture of the nineteenth century French bourgeoisie. D escriptions of the modern bourgeois collector often position the subject's practice as a precarious balancing act. Some collector s might have counterbalanc ed their fears of mortality with the belief that the properly acquired, well reputed collection could 88 Ibid. Not all art historians believe that seventeenth century Dutch still lifes are invested in vanitas or mortality. This is the stance that Foster takes to further his inquiry into Freudian fetish. 89 Ibid., 254. 90 Ibid., 257. 91 Ibid.
56 replace the need for, or at least supplement the purpose of, procreation. According to historian Leora Auslander, the collection could provide the collector with the chance of immortality through its continued existence after his physical death. 92 Novelis t Elisabeth de Gramont, writing in the 1930's when collecting was still a thrivin g practice and indicator of secure bourgeois status characterizes the "true collector [as] he who seeks to satisfy a complicated need, both cerebral and sensual. He experienc es physical joys which are among the most noble which we may ask of our organism. Furthermore, the beautiful objects which surround us distract us from the idea of death, and give spirit to the idea of eternity, through the past." 93 Auslander interprets de Gramont's description of the collector as one whom experiences a "mysterious physical joy (orgasm?) through the acquisition of objects rather than the production of children." 94 Just as the production of male heirs was to carry on one's name (and, via primo geniture, one's wealth), the accumulation of the collection was considered a generative, creative act, which for the erudite male bourgeois collector acquired "a clear biological function" 95 and "represented the fantasy of immortality." 96 A collection capa ble of immortalizing the collector must be a collection worthy of being memorialized. It follows suit, in order to possess a collection that accurately reflects the collector's spirit, and thereby affords immortality, the collection must be attained judici ously. Susan Pearce, a scholar on collecting, writes that "instant' 92 Auslander,"Gendering," 87. 93 Elisabeth de Gramont, Mmoires: Les Marronniers en fleurs, 25 th ed (Paris: Grasset, 1929) 185, rpt in. Leora Auslander, "The Gendering of Consumer Practices," in The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective ed. Victoria de Grazia with Ellen Furlough (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996) 89. 94 Auslander, "Gendering," 89. 95 Benjamin, 210. 96 Auslander, "Ge ndering," 87.
57 collections, our instincts tell us, are not true collections at all; in order to be honourable and genuine, collections must have been acquired gradually over the years, and piece or grou p at a time." 97 This authentication of the collection may account for the copiousness of articles displayed in pronkstillevens The various natural and man made objects belie a collection purchased in bulk. Each piece, be it the hand tooled nautilus glass, the Asian rug, or even the fresh peeled lemon, suggest an effort in acquisition, an individual story. Such an inclination may also account for Champfleury's and others' dismissal of Tissot's collection. His collection was not amassed piece by piece over ti me. It was simply procured too quickly and shown too prominently. Immortality, and therefore, the preservation of the collector's soul through the possession of the objects that will succeed him, is an intrinsic concern in collecting. Arguably, as Pearce maintains, "the collection becomes the reified self, the tangible and enlivening aspect of an individuality which is otherwise fragile, vulnerable to the decaying processes of time." 98 This process of thought engages a personality that through the collectio n resists the constraints of time. In her broad study on collecting, Susan Pearce investigates the notion that a personality can withstand, and exist outside of time, as a wholly European perspective. She regards this phenomenon as a "humanist fallacy," a s it assumes the existence of individuals as "an essential personality." 99 Such a personality is wholly unique, consistent throughout one's lifetime and can live on, unchanging, in the memories of those whom survive the collector. These memories are 97 Ibid., 235. 98 Susan Pearce, On Collecting: An investigation into collecting in the European tradition (New York: Routledge, 1995) 248 99 Pearce, 254
58 locat able, and continue to exist, in the collectible objects that endure after the collector dies. Consequently, Jeunes femmes, though a product of Second Empire France, shares striking similarities to seventeenth century pronk still lifes, not only in the in tricate mode of the pictorial presentation of opulent bibelots but also through the proposed anxieties that the images make manifest. This angst over the temporal and the immortal, the inanimate and the animate is not limited to the canvases of seventeen th century Dutch still lifes. It is a markedly active agent in the shaping of the nineteenth century bourgeois collecting culture in which Tissot participated, and from which his collection, and this painting, arose. Moreover, Foster's claim that "the lum inous shine of these [seventeenth century] still lifes is more faultily fetishistic: it recalls our lack even as it distracts us from it. It is as if we are seen as we see only it is objects that "see" us 100 is strangely reminiscent of Borgella's Salon rev iew in which he could not discern whether it was Young women looking at Japanese objects, or objects looking at young women." 101 While Foster's descant does supply an interesting avenue by which to explore Freudian fetish and the object, he fails to consi der the Freudian application of container and containment. This analytical tool is particularly useful when analyzing Jeunes femmes Indeed, Eli Roy's telling suggestion that the two women were akin to birds in a cage, transcends the women's decorous appe arance, the foliage situated like plumage over the woman in maroon's head, or even the elaborate grillwork that frames the walls. 102 And i f the women are entrapped, their enclosure signifies more than the popular 100 Foster, 264. 101 See footnote 55 102 See footnote 68
59 satire of burgeoning female sexuality and ava ilability. 103 Instead, one must consider containment in terms of the structure of the composition, the bibelots and objets that Tissot collected and portrayed in this painting, and the representation of a real, identifiable domestic space. Walter Benjamin, a nd later, Susan Stewart, both expound upon the nineteenth century's collectors' propensity for amassing objects that are themselves containers, or objects that can be contained. 104 Although they both treat theories of containment and they are both twentieth century scholars, the two admittedly treat two different types of collectors with two different modes of approach. When Stewart, in her book, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection analyzes collecting habits, s he is mainly analyzing those habits of the twentieth century collector, for whom small knick knacks and souvenirs are the items rendered collectible. Walter Benjamin, on the other hand, is investigating the nineteenth century collector. Unlike Stewart's bo ok, which is a complete, congruous work, written in 1993, Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project is an immense collection of notes, short essays, and impressions about consumerism and nineteenth century France, which began in 1927 and continued on until 194 0. Thus, Walter Benjamin's accumulation of notes and insights presents the reader with a diverse concept of the nineteenth century collector and the world in which he interacted. In her treatment of objects that are containers, Stewart links the favoring of such bibelots to Freudian fetish, positing that the "collection thus appears as a mode of control 103 See footnote 76. 104 Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1993). See also Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project trans., Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, Massachusetts and L ondon, England: Harvard University Press, 1999), 220.
60 and containment insofar as it is a mode of generation and series." 105 The dichotomous relationship suggested by Stewart of "control and containment" on one hand and "generation and series" on the other, is complicit with the constant struggle between disavowal and affirmation in Freud's conception of fetish, and the intrinsic impulse to constrain the itinerant, covetous gaze. 106 While the materiality of the can vas and the limits of its physical dimensions inherently provide tangible, concrete borders to focus the viewer's gaze, it is Tissot's depiction of the items, and how he locates them within the composition, that actively reinforces such boundaries. The white brocade curtain, for example, is pulled back to invite the viewer into the space; however, the women's positions simultaneously block such an entry. The punctilious portrayal of the tile work on the floor and the placement of the Oriental rug further indicate this continual struggle between invitation and refusal, opening and enclosure. Both the tile and the rug run at a horizontal angle, directing the eye across the composition, but not inside of it. The decorative floor operates as a visual tool to entice the gaze, but it functions to compress the space rather than to expand it. The rug and the tile work also lead the eye to the object of the two women's gaze, the model Japanese commerce ship. This model ship, a veritable simulacrum of containment, w ith its various 105 Stewart, 159. 106 Freud, 156 157.
61 Figure 21. James Tissot, Detail of Shipping Crate, Tapestry and Curtain, Jeunes femmes regardant les objets japonais 1869. Cincinnati Museum of Art
62 nooks and crannies, and the suggestively phallic nature of its masts, its staffs, a nd its oars, is a substantial invocation of Freudian fetish. The decorative floor also guides the eye to the shipping box (Fig. 21). Originally used to transport and store the model boat, this box has been repurposed as display table. The dual use of the s hipping crate as both a table and as a visual reminder of the container in which the bibelot was originally housed is indicative of Walter Benjamin's claim that the nineteenth century bourgeoisie were preoccupied with the production of containers for both multifarious mass produced commodities and collectibles: "What didn't the nineteenth century invent some sort of casing for! [. .] and, in lieu of cases, there were jackets, carpets, wrappers, and covers." 107 Furthermore, Tissot's generous use of sumptuou s fabrics in this composition, including the highly detailed tapestry draped over the shipping crate, supports Benjamin's supposition that "indefatigably [the collector] takes the impression of a host of objects; for his slippers and his watches, his blank ets and his umbrellas, he devised coverlets and cases. He has a marked preference for velour and plush, which preserve the imprint of all contact." 108 While the collectible objects in Jeunes femmes exceed the daily drudgery of "umbrellas" and "slippers," t he statement's connotation still resonates. Benjamin's insight that the collector's enthusiasm for containers, a latent concern with concealing, revealing, and preserving, is exemplified through Tissot's compositional arrangement and his use of fabrics to both cloak and expose. The tassels on the curtains, the textured detail of the rug, the various patterns of the Asian silk, are all portrayed with such specificity 107 Benjamin 220. 108 Ibid., 20.
63 that if not for the composition's overall controlled palette, 109 they might seem chaotic or vi sually vertiginous. These details operate to focus the gaze while concurrently distracting it. Such duplicity of function is a constitutional component of Freudian fetishism. Perhaps the most overt suggestion of entrapment and containment is the presence of the grillwork on the windows. While supposedly Japanese in design, the solid dimensions with which Tissot painted the framework, in contrast to the other objects in the room, as well as the narrow corner in which the walls adjoin, seem more reminiscent of a cell than of an airy, open plan Japanese interior space. Moreover, the exterior view that the narrow window panes might promise is obstructed by the angular view of the room, the copious foliage that occupies much of the composition's mid and backgro und, and the rolled up paper curtains. While the windows do offer limited views to the outside, their main function is to sharply constrict the terms of the interior space. The frame motif of the windows is also mirrored in the golden metalwork of the alta r doors located behind the women. And finally, the tension between emptiness and fullness, container and contained, is implicated through the empty celadon offering bowl and the various drawers in the altar. The interior of these drawers is disappointingly empty. Ultimately, the promise of repository is aborted. Tissot's precise arrangement and depiction of his collection in Jeunes femmes does more than to entice the covetous gaze of the bourgeois male collector. The women portrayed in Jeunes femmes whos e representation is so readily subsumed under the 109 Nancy Rose Marshall points out the basic colors of red, yellow, white and black as being a key unifying element in the composition. See J ames Tissot: Victorian Life/ Modern Love eds. Nancy Rose Marshall and Malcolm Warner (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1999) 44.
64 paradigm of Freudian fetish, are actually minor players in a larger scene of the collector's "box in the theatre of the world." 110 The greater players in this veritable "stage of acting out one's most intima te feelings with great authenticity" 111 are the objects collected and displayed in the painting which demonstrate the precarious balance between the potential for fulfillment and for insatiability; or, in Freudian terms, it is the acknowledgement that the m aternal phallus does not exist, but the still continual search for its substitution in spite of the awareness of its inherent irretrievability. It is this struggle between the real and the potential, the desired and the attained, which makes Freudian fetis h a particularly compelling tool with which to investigate the collectible objects in Tissot's Jeunes femmes The composition's high finish, verisimilitude, and the intimate concern for the authenticity of both his domestic space and his elegant bibelots a re implicitly met with the knowledge that these objects, despite the hyperrealism with which they are rendered, are merely simulated substitutions. 110 Benjamin, 19. 111 Susan Sidlauskas, Body, Place, and Self in Nineteenth Century Painting (New York, New York: Cambr idge University Press, 2000), 3. See also Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism trans. Harry Zohn (London: Verso Editions, 1982) 167 168.
65 Chapter Three: "The Religion of Sensuous Desire": 112 The Social Life of the Collectibl e and the Bourgeois Self fashioning in Tissot's Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais "A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in meta physical subtleties and theological niceties." Karl Marx 113 In 1860, during the Second Opium War, British and French troops raided, looted, and eventually razed the royal palace of Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace). Carefully selected booty from the conqu est, ranging from military attire to fine art objects, was sent to Napoleon III and the Empress Eugnie, who publicly displayed the articles at the Tuileries Palace between February 1861 and April of the same year. 114 Historian Greg Thomas argues that the ob jects sent to France were based on European aesthetic values and were used to "appropriate Chinese imperial culture as a way of reinforcing France's own imperial ambitions during the reign of Emperor Napoleon III (r.1851 1870)." 115 He furthers this argument by comparing Yuanming Yuan and Versailles. Like Versailles, Yuanming Yuan was an "official seat of government" and was "a vast and sumptuous repository of the greatest productions of the country's royal 112 Karl Marx,"The Leading Article in No. 179 of the Klnishce Zeitung, in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, vol 1. (New York: International, 1975), 189; qt d in William Pietz, "Fetishism and Materialism: The Limits of Theory in Marx," in Fetishism as Cultural Discourse eds. Emily Apter and William Pietz (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1983), 133. German: "die Religion der sinnlichen Begierde" 113 Marx Capital," 81. 114 Thomas, 20. 115 Ibid., 1.
66 culture, including architecture, gardens, paintings, sculpture, and especially decorative arts." 116 Moreover, he alludes to the power and wealth of the Qing Dynasty, which built Yuanming Yuan (1709 1772), as being comparable to the reign of Louis XIV. As such, the public display of the salvaged items not only implied victory and conquest on the part of the Emperor, but because Yuanming Yuan was equated with Louis XIV's Versailles, the collectibles, through their rarity, value, and acquisition also substantiated the wealth and prestige of Napoleon III's Empire. When the exhibition closed in April 1861, the Empress selected her favorite objects from the collection and started her own personal muse Chinois Like Tissot's Japanese collection, she housed and displayed her muse Chinois in her atelier in the Tuile ries. The Empress' personal affection for Asian collectibles must have gained attention from foreign diplomats because in 1861, when the King of Siam sent ambassadors to commemorate their renewed diplomacy, he presented "48 cases of gifts" to the Empress. Many of these collectibles replicated royal Siamese objects "including a crown, palanquin, parasols, weapons and jewelry," which were absorbed into a collection of Asian exotics at Fontainebleau. 117 This diplomatic occasion was memorialized through an offici ally commissioned painting entitled Reception of Siamese Ambassadors at Fontainebleau (Fig. 22) by Jean Lon Grme. This painting, completed in 1864 and hung at Versailles, depicts an enthroned Empress accepting small treasures from a line of 116 Thomas, 1. 117 Ibid, 18
67 Figure 22. Jean Lon Grme. The Reception of Siamese Ambassadors at Fountainebleau. ca.1864. 102.36 in. x 50.39 in. Chateau de Versailles, France.
68 humbly genuflecting ambassadors dressed in their native, exotic, attire. 118 The King of Siam may have been r enewing diplomatic ties, but there is a clear hierarchy among the principalities. In Grme's version of the encounter, Napoleon III's Empire, France, is politically, culturally, and, as suggested by the lavishly decorated reception hall, financially domin ant. Eugnie kept her muse Chinois open to the public until 1863. After such, it was accessible by personal permission only. While there is no direct evidence that Tissot visited her studio, or viewed the Grme painting, the fact that she chose to preser ve both her interaction with Asian royalty and her Asian collection via a royal painting sets an evocative, imperial precedent for Tissot's own actions. Clearly, how a collection was appropriated and publicly displayed, and the desired public perception o f that display, were significant factors during the reign of Napoleon III. The concept of a collection referring back to the collector extends beyond royal collections and their nationalistic aims. Astute collectors during Second Empire France were aware o f how their collections could be self referential and, furthermore, how a proper collection could bolster one's esteem, or conversely, how a poorly or misappropriated collection could serve as a social pit fall. In modern bourgeois society, the Second Emp ire collector was obligated to consider "the utility of these things [monopolized objects of pride] to the possessor" as "commonly due less to their intrinsic beauty than to the honour which their possession and consumption confers, or to the obloquy whic h it wards off." 119 The desire to preserve one's collection, and thereby, protect one's fashioned persona was a common proclivity and a constant point of contention. Tissot was not exempt from such endeavors. While making no claims to 118 Ibid., 36, endnote 109. 119 Veblen,129.
69 analyze the psychology of the artist, elements of the artist's biography do suggest that Tissot was a person who sought social notoriety and personal esteem through commodities and financial gain. Tissot's need to financially and socially legitimate himself is not without famil ial precedent. His father Marcel Thodore was a member of the emerging petit bourgeois while h is mother Marie Durand, was the daughter of an impoverished royalist family. Together they moved to Nantes, where they both worked in the textile industry; his f ather as a linen draper, his mother as a milliner. Tissot may have acquired his appetite for business and financial gain from his father, who thrived in his industry, eventually saving enough money to buy a respectable chateau near Marcel Thodore's hometo wn. In 1856, when Tissot was twenty, he left Nantes and arrived in Paris, where he studied under Hippolyte Flandrin and Louis Lamothe; however, his passion, characterized as a "wildly offbeat enthusiasm for a student in Paris" was for Hendrick Leys. 120 The a rchaic architecture and the costumes, the smooth finishes and romanticized subject matter of Leys' medievalized Flemish p aintings appealed to Tissot, and are all evident in his earlier paintings. N othing about Tissot was typical: h e arrived in Paris in 185 6, a petit bourgeois with an odd penchant for medieval style paintings; i n a little over ten years time, he went from being an eccentric artist living amongst the other young artists in the Latin quarter to being one of the most financially secure painters in Paris, with a home near the Bois de Boulogne to attest to his financial success. His own social and financial gains did not go unnoticed, or uncriticized. While Champfle ury's satire and the reviews from the Salon may be the only documented 120 MalcolmWarner, "The Painter of Modern Love ," in James Tissot: Victorian Life/Modern Love Nancy Rose Marshall and Malcom Warner eds., (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999) 9.
70 pejorative commentary dating from the period of Jeunes femmes, they certainly do not lack company. In 1871, the Commune tore through Paris. Shortly afterward, Tissot fled to London. While it has never been proven whether or not Tissot participated in the Commune, soc ialite J.E. Blanche reported that Tissot only "engaged in the Commune to save his beautiful house." 121 Furthermore, Paris' socialites continued to gossip about Tissot even after he left London. Just four years after Tissot left France, t he oft quoted Edmond de Goncourt wrote : Yesterday, Duplessis told me that Tissot, that plagiarist painter, was having great success in England. Could he [Duplessis] have invented it? That this ingenious exploiter of British idioci es, has a studio preceded by a salon where o ne can find, at any time, iced champagne for the visitors, and around the studio there is a garden, where, during the day, one can see a butler, in full costume, polishing the leaves of the shrubbery?" 122 By using such terms as "plagiarist" and "exploi ter" and by describing the manner in which guests are welcomed into Tissot's home and studio, Goncourt characterizes Tissot's social manners and his home as vulgar in their excessiveness, and perhaps illegitimate. 123 The fact that members of the Parisian art istic elite continued to write about Tissot's financial success in tall tales about his consumption and obvious excess implies the pervasiveness and prevalence of monetary gain and accumulated commodities over 121 Henri Zerner "Introduction," in James Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836 1902: A Retrospective Exhibition exh. c at., Henri Zerner and David S. Brooke, eds., (Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, 1968) 10. 122 Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt, Journal des Goncourts rev. ed. in 4 vol (Paris: Flammarion, 1956) 2: 1001 1002 in James Tissot: A Catalogue Ra isonn of his Prints Michael Wentworth (Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, 1978) 13. French: Hier, Duplessis me recontait que Tissot, ce pientre plagiaire, avait le grand success en Angleterre. N'a t il pas invent, cet ingnieux exploiteur de la btise angla ise. d'avoir un atelier prcd d'une antichambre, o il se trouve, en tout temps, du champagne frappe la disposition des visiteurs, et autour de son atelier, un jardin o l'on voit, toute la journe, un domestique en bas de soie occup brosser et faire reluire les feuilles des arbustes? 123 For an interesting investigation into the word "vulgar," in particular for its application of the word "as betrayal on the part of those who by rights ought to be in the vanguard of good taste" see T.J Clark, Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (Yale University Press: New Haven, 1999) 377 378
71 both Tissot's real and imagined life and, for that matter, among the artistic bourgeois ie And even if Goncourt's tone is mocking, his synopsis of Tissot and Tissot's material success is still suggestive of the modern bourgeois propensity to "think we are boasting about men, while we are boasting of t heir estates, their dress and their palaces." 124 In some cases, the collection and display of well chosen commodities was not just seen as a social tool, it was understood as a gentlemen's duty. In an English domestic manual from 1876, A Plea for Art in the House: With Special Reference to the Economy of Collecting Works of Art, and the Importance of Taste in Education and Morals, author W.J. Loftie exhorts: It may of course be objected that collecting is not in itself the practice of art. But, except for p eople who are actually artists, much that goes to make a home beautiful must of necessity be obtained by judicious collecting. It might be easily proved that the articles which are really beautiful owe their chief attraction to the suitability and perma nent value which is required to make them satisfactory. But further than this, it may be fairly argued, and indeed, has several times been pointed out already, that it is the duty if everyone who is so fortunate as to possess a home and be the head of t he family, to endeavor as far as he can, to make his family happy by making the home beautiful. 125 Loftie implies that artists a lready have an innate ability to separate the aesthetic and the valuable from that which is worthless. He also links a collecti on of artwork to a happy home and believes that it is a man's duty t o provide the household with beautiful objects as a necessary part of keeping a pleasant home. Transforming abstract notions such as "beautiful" and "happy" into concrete absolutes through object acquisition embodies Marxist commodity fetish. Moreover, Loftie's description implies that "judicious 124 Adam Ferguson, An Essay in the History of Civil Society ed. Duncan Forbes (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1966) in David Sim pson, Fetishism and Imagination: Dickens, Melville, Conrad (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982) 24. 125 W.J. Loftie, A Plea for Art in the House: With Special Reference to the Economy of Collecting Works of Art, and the Importance o f Taste in Education and Morals (London: MacMillan and Co., 1876) 19 20.
72 collecting" is the sight of abstracted labor, which allows for the socialization of the objects. His synopsis also indicates the capacity for self fashioning within collecting. 126 Marx's version of fetish is privy to ongoing theoretical discussion, exploration, and expansion; but, at its foundation, it involves an object's displacement from its use value. 127 As an object enters the market and becomes commodity, its exchange value trumps its use value. This exchange value imbues the commodity with connotations exceeding t he object's original functional purpose. In his treatise Capital: A Critique of Political Economy Marx uses a wooden table to elucida te the process by which an object becomes a commodity, and the metaphysical nature implicit in its transformation: It is clear as noon day, that man, by his industry, changes the forms of the materials furnished by nature, in such a way to make them us eful to him. The form of wood, for instance, is altered, by making a table out of it. Yet, for all that the table continues to be that common every day thing, wood. But, so soon as it steps forth as a commodity it is changed into something trans cendent. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than "table turning" ever was. 128 Marx's description of "woode n brain grotesque ideas" imparts human characteristics to the table. This narrative, a touch cheeky in tone, intertwines both the "mystical" nature of the commodity, and the unquenchable desire of the consumer to purchase the commodity; not so muc h for what the commodity is physically, but for what it represents both as 126 This is not to suggest that self fashioning is a Second Empire phenomena. Indeed, scholars suc h as Stephen Greenblatt, have persuasively argued that self fashioning occurred during the Early Modern era. For more information see Stephen Greenblatt's Renaissance Self Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1980). 127 For critiques of Marx's version of fetish see William Pietz "Fetishism and Materialis m: The Limits of Theory in Marx," in Fetishism as Cultural Discourse eds., Emily Apter and William Pietz (Cornell University Press: Ithaca, 1993) 119 151. See also Emily Apter Feminizing the Fetish: Psychoanalysis and Narrative Obsession in Turn of the C entury France (Cornell University: Ithaca, 1991) 1 14. 128 Marx, Capital 81 82.
73 commodity and in relation to all the other commodities. 129 As proposed by Marx's famous quote, "There is a definite social relation between men, that assumes, in their eyes, the fanta stic form of a relation between things," it is the relationship of the commodities, via abstract labor, that is the social life of the commodity. 130 That is to say, the amount of human labor that goes into the producing of each object affects the exchange va lue of the commodity. It is this exchange value that results in a perceived sociableness among inanimate objects. Notably, Borgella animates the inanimate in his critique of Jeunes femmes "Young ladies looking at objects, or objects looking at young ladie s, it's all the same." 131 While Borgella's synopsis accounts for the sociability of the objects portrayed in Jeunes femmes it is not just the social nature of the bibelots and their displacement of use value that are active agents in the painting, it is als o the objects' concern with authenticity. As mentioned in previous chapters, authenticity is paramount to the success of the collector and the colle ction. In the Second Empire, as manufactured and mass produced goods were made readily available the genu ineness of a collectible, and the verification of its authenticity, dominated the collector's practice. For the erudite collector, if their coveted collectibles were to carry the desired elitist connotations, then they must be verifiable, l uxury items. Fol lowing a model of Marxist commodity fetish scholar Arjun Appadurai argues "luxury goods" are "goods whose principle use is rhetorical and 129 Ibid., 82. "The mystical character of commodities does not originate, therefore, in their use value. 130 Ibid. 83. 131 See footnote 65.
74 social goods that are simply incarnated signs. 132 He also proposes categories by which one could determine the auth ority of a luxury good: (1) restriction, either by price or by law, to elites; (2) complexity of acquisition, which may or may not be a function of real "scarcity"; (3) semiotic virtuosity, that is, the capacity to signal fairly complex social message s (as do pepper in cuisine, silk in dress, jewels in adornment, and relics in worship); (4) specialized knowledge as a prerequisite for their "appropriate" consumption, that is, regulation by fashion; and (5) a high degree of linkage of their consumptio n to body, person and personality. 133 Although written in the late twentieth century, this descriptive list of qualities is concomitant with the highbrow competitiveness of collectors in Second Empire Paris. And furthermore, Appadurai's categorizations are applicable to the modern bourgeois collector's sense of authenticity. They certainly could apply to Tissot's (and the Empress Eugnie's) own aspirations for his collection and to his desire to be publicly considered a connoisseur and an esteemed japoni ste Whether purchased with his lucrative earnings at the close of the World's Fair of 1868, or received as parting gifts by Japanese royalty, the collectible items depicted in Jeunes femmes would have been difficult for the average collector to a cquire. They seem to typify Appadura i's classifications of elitism and of difficulty (real, or perceived) of possession. If purchased after the World's Fair, the objects were not mass produced and would be of limited availability and presumably costly. If receive d as gifts from the Japanese royal family, they have a symbolic value that cannot be attaine d merely through financial transactions. T he act of gift exchange would impart a sense of uniqueness on the objects, regardless of whether or not they were actually unavailable in the marketplace. 132 Appadurai, 38; emphasis author's. I read "incarnated signs" as signs of one's social and economic class. 133 Ibid
75 Moreover, like the Empress receiving gifts from Siam, the history of acquisition, as well as the representation of the collectibles in a painting, nuance the objects. These two factors allow the represented commodities to e mit deeper social messages and hold more complex implications than the average collection would probably possess. Lastly, the belief that the Second Empire collector was the ultimate referent o f his collection fulfills Appadur ai's emphasis on the "high deg ree of linkage of their consumption to body, person and personality 134 Indeed, certain aspects of Tissot's bibliography suggest that his home and his possessions were a testament to who he was as a m an and as an artist. All of Appadur ai's well articulated determinates of authoritative luxury are based in Marxist fetish. Moreover, t heir emphasis on the metaphysical nature of the commodity and the socially received relationship of the commodity to the possessor are inherent components of bourgeois self fashio ning. In Tissot's Jeunes femmes the displacement of use value, the numinous constitution of the commodity and the self referentiality of the collectibles are highly legible as exertive producing agents. 135 In the interest of specificity, time, and clarity, I will examine the active role of the Japanese altar, the packaging crate, and the miniature commerce ship. 136 The largest collectible item portrayed in Jeunes femmes and the one that dominates the composition, is the Japanese altar located to the right h and side of the 134 Ibid. 135 By stating the collectibles are self referential, I am referring to their ability to refer back to Tissot; the collector as the ultimate referent of the collection. 136 I am choosing these particular items because they are the objects which are treated in Chapter II. The miniature ship is identified as "a model vermillion trading ship, used for entertainment and trade" by Mimi Yiengspuksawan for Nancy Rose Marshall in James Ti ssot: Victorian Life/Modern Love eds. Nancy Rose Marshall and Malcolm Warner (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999) 44, endnote 19.
76 painting, behind the two young ladies. This object is a Butsudan household altar. 137 As a part of a Japanes e household, these altars would serve as a family memorial shrine and a place to offer prayers to Buddha. 138 As there is no evidence that Tissot acquired this altar for religious purposes, the religious value of the altar is displaced Rather than holding the "flower vase, candle stand, incense holder, and bell flanking a central venerated image or ancestral tablets 139 which would typically be found on the altar, Tissot utilizes it as a display cabinet for a collection of fashionable, less expensive Japanese dolls (Fig. 23, Fig. 24). 140 His mode of representation attests to the altar's size, craftsmanship and perhaps, its monetary value. I nde ed, through his placement and depiction of the altar, Tissot strives t o assure the viewer that this piece is an authentic Butsudan altar and not a European crafted "japanned" piece of furniture, furnishings which were immensely popular. He laboriously sign als the dimensions of the altar; it is placed in the background, behind the two women, and yet, it seems to tower over them. The altar is unable to be constrained within the noticeably compact confines of the composition, spilling out of the right side of the painting Also, Tissot tediously reproduces the altar's engravings and its gold leaf surfaces. There is no mistaking this item for an ob ject of mass production. The met al rod doors, the expanse of golden surfaces, the freeform carving and high luster o f the crimson and black finished veneer all indicate a handcrafted objet de luxe. The alt ar's origin as a religious object nuances the history of the collectible and denotes important symbolic value. However, Tissot, in his painting, and within this chose n collection, 137 Alan Scott Pate, Japanese Dolls: The Fascinating World of Ningy" (Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2008) 34. 138 Pate, 34. 139 Ib id. 140 These same types of dolls can be found in collector's homes at the turn of the century. See Eugne Atget, Intrieurs parisiens eds. Molly Nesbit and Franois Reynaud (Paris: editions Carr, 1992) Planche 48: "Intrieur de Mr B Collectionneur Rue de Vaugirard."
77 portrays the altar in terms of market value; that is, its excellent condition, its exoticness, its rarity, and its authenticity. Perhaps a less overt and more curious inclusion in the composition is the shipping crate (Fig. 21). As discussed earlier, the crate operates as a fetishized object itself, a metaphor of the container and the contained, to which the tapestry adds another element of envelopment. However, investigated through the paradigm of Marx ist fetish, the crate becomes a powerful marker of authenticity and a tes tament to Tissot's erudition Tissot could have suppressed the shipping crate from the composition and let the occasional table located to the right of the crate support the model ship. Likewise, the tapestry that covers th e crate could have skimmed the floor, covering the crate's bare boards. The entryway curtain, the occasional table, the tapestry over the crate, all of these interior items could have easily masked the crate's crudeness. Why, in a room so packed with sumpt uous luxuries, would Tissot have included a mundane item as packing crate in his composition? One must conclude that Tissot wanted the attentive and learned viewer to see and identify the shipping box. As such, the crate is distanced from its use value. I t is not a commonplace wooden box used to house a model ship. No, it transforms into something much more than that: a marker of au thenticity of the model ship. The mundane and pedestrian object testifies to the exotic origin of the authentic miniature. Mor eover, if Ch gi's assessment of Tissot's collection is correct, then the shipping crate attests to the royal provenance of the collectible and not just the journey that it took to arrive to Europe. The crate, therefore, collapses the geographical social sp ace and represents instead a symbolic space the space where Ti ssot, through the act of gift exchange is symbolically tied, both within physical proximity and within the hierarchal social sphere,
78 to Japanese royalty. 141 Endowed with intangible properties bey ond its use as a shipping crate, or even as a makeshift table, the crate comes to represent Tissot's wealth and his connoisseurship, and acts as a visual indicator of his association with Japanese royalty. Figure 23. James Tissot. Detail of Altar. Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais 1869. Cincinnati Museum of Art. 141 See Pierre Bourdieu "Social Space and Symbolic Power," Sociological Theory 7:1 (Spring 1989) 20
79 Figure 24. Eugne Atget. ca. 1910. Planche 48. Intrieur de Mr B Collectionneur Rue de Vaugirard Muse Carnavalet.
80 If a seemingly simple shipping crate can bear so many conno tations, then the model ship, the collectible that the crate held and the object that holds the two young ladies' attention, is ripe with implication. Within the constra ints of the collection presented in the composition, it is peculiar because it is a min iature, and unlike the other objects examined in this chapter, it serves no other purpose than to be observed and admired. Unlike the crate, it cannot serve as a table; it is not a kimono or bolt of silk that can act as a tablecloth, an exotic rug to pad t he surface of one's feet, or an altar acting as a display case for one's dolls. And while o ne could argue that the dolls, situated on th e altar, are also miniatures, they ostensibly could have had a use value in play. This model ship seems to lack any othe r purpose than to be a collectible. Likewise, the diminutive size of this collectible places a considerable focus on craft and detail (F ig. 25). Tissot has carefully described the nature of this ship, from its feathered staffs, and fine carved wooden rudde r, to the ochre, black and rust paint ed finish. The two women affirm the singularity of the boat through their e ngagement with it. The bent posture of the woman in maroon suggests to the viewer that there is more to see than the composition allows. Tissot offers the viewer a distinct view of the ship but perhaps, not the most privileged position from which to see it. Indeed, f or all of his extravagant detail, Tissot has left bits of his collection out of the realm of the viewer: the angle of the miniature ship, the full size of the crate, the space beyond the curtain, and the entire expanse of the altar. He reveals, with intense detail, enough to whet the viewer's appetite and to v alid ate
81 Figure 25. James Tissot. Detail of Model Ship Jeunes femmes rega rdant des objets japonais 1869. Cincinnati Museum of Art.
82 the collection, but conceals enough to maintain the collection's need for mystery and to suggest further abundance. In her impressive study on the souvenir and collecting English literature scholar Susan Stewart states that the souvenir "will not function without the supplementary narrative discourse that both attaches it to its origins and creates a myth with regards to those origins." She then asks, "what is the narrative of those origins? It is the narrative of interiority and authenticity. It is not the narrative of the object; it is the narrative of the possessor." 142 Although she is writing about the twentieth century travel souvenir this statement could very well apply to the miniature boat, as well as to the collection as a whole. 143 T he appropriation of the article's pre sumed (or assumed) history gives the collectible its significance. It is this significance that is then projected unto the collector. In the c ase of the miniature boat, a display model of a Japanese comme rce and entertainment ship, this bibelot functions to generate myth concerning Tissot's abundant financial reserves and his engagement with Prince Akitake. It solidifies his affiliation, both culturally and financially, wi th the bourgeoisie. The manner in which Tissot chose to arrange his collection and portray it in Jeunes femmes is paramount; the collectible objects gain meaning from their relationship to each other. Walter Benjamin wrote that objects became integrated into a new, 142 Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (Durham and London: Duke University Press 1993) 136. 143 Stewart postulates that the twentieth century "collectible" is devoid of a past, even refutes a past and instead finds meaning in the person who acquires it and among the other objects in the collection. Her definition of the "collectible" and the erasure of origin is counterbalanced by her conception of the souvenir, which continues to be invested in the past. I would argue that, in reference to nineteenth century collecting, specifically collecting in Paris during the waning Second Empire Stewart's definitions of the souvenir and the collectible can, and should, be considered jointly. The luxe collectible does refer to its owner and, moreover, it finds meaning in the classification and categorization of the collector. But, such qualities do not negate the importance of the origin of the collectible. The nineteenth century collectible is not devoid of its mode of acquisition, or sense of inheritance. Longing 151 153
83 expressly devised historical system: the collection. And for the true collector, every single thing in this system becomes an encyclopedia of knowledge of the epoch, the landscape, the industry, and the owner from which it comes." 144 Loftie, in h is domestic manual from 1876, also admonished the collector to order and ma ster his collection. He believed that the duty of the collector "has another incentive. By forming a collection he does good work for the knowledge of art, and he increases the valu e of each individual specimen in his collection" [ . ] "The collector must endeavor to ascertain the comparative excellence and rarity of the objects that he collects." 145 Both of these examples, one from a twentieth century philosopher, and the other fr om a contemporary commentator, interpret the collector as a knowledgeable gatherer who judiciously arranges his collections in a system devoid of use value but endowed with connoisseur value. 146 Both of these descriptions also refer to male, bourgeois collec tors. Thus, the ability to master and arrange the collection is a practice of the masculine subject a practice that produces and secures one's understanding of history. The masculine endeavor of the collector is important to consider when analyzing Jeunes femmes As much as the painting depicts collecting, it is itself a collectible object. Viewed from this angle, Tissot's masculinity is aggrandized. Not only did he acquire and arrange these rare and authentic collectible objects, but he was also able to ar range, synthesize and portray them, with hyperrealism on canvas, devising a historical system' and doing good work for the knowledge of art' in the interest of producing and preserving history. There is a 144 Benjamin 205. 145 Loftie 7. 146 Benjamin, 19.
84 dual self reference implicit in the painting: one in the interior and collection that is represented and two, in the painting as a rare and historical collectible. If Tissot's Jeunes femmes with its "hyperattention to detail and interiors, combined with Tissot's own unerring sense of what was fashiona ble, serve as a colorful portal through which to enter the world of the Second Empire" then considering the painting in terms of how the particular commodities reference the collector nuances that vision. 147 Comprehending the masculine, competitive nature o f collecting in Second Empire Paris, understanding the intangible power and draw of collectible objects, and acknowledging that their possessor is the ultimate historical referent, constitutes Tissot's Jeunes femmes as a highly self referential, almost sel f laudatory painting. A pai nting wherein the maniacal desires of Second Empire collecting are made manifest in the history of the objects portrayed and in their sophisticated, methodical mode of representation on canvas. 147 Pate, 34.
85 Conclusion In this thesis I proffered that Tissot's ultimate concern in Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais ( 1869 ) is his collection of Asian bibelots and objets and his desire to secure and legitimate his status with the Parisian bourgeoisie. I demonstrat ed how current modes of theoretical inquiry, such as Freudian fetishism and Marx's version of fetish, can be used to examine and interrogate the objects in the painting, rather than just the two figures. I also located Tissot's motivations and the painting itself in a specific socio historic context, the latter half of the Second Empire in Paris, in order to better demonstrate the painting's latent investment in conspicuous consumption and collecting. From a socio historical perspective, I investigated the practice of collecting as adopted by the Second Empire bourgeois male. I identified the difference between the casual collector and the revered erudite collector. I also established the importance of object authenticity and how each collectible object, an d the collection as a whole, referred back to the collector. By accumulating a strong collection of authenticated, expensive rarities, the individual may succeed in legitimating him or herself as an erudite collector, and, therefore, a respected member of the bourgeoisie. I suggest that it is through Tissot's collection, and its arrangement, representation, and public display in Jeunes femmes that Tissot sought to authenticate himself as a veritable japoniste and bourgeois.
86 How Tissot intended Jeunes femm es to be viewed may never be completely known. 148 However, my thesis offers another manner in which to construe the painting's implications. We do know that Tissot created three compositions of his collectibles and interior, which carry the same title. We al so know that it is the painting with the most sumptuous articles that he chose to publicly display. This thesis produces an opening by which to contemplate the collectible items and their significance to the painting, to Tissot, and to the construction of a very distinct Parisian Second Empire bourgeois habitude one whose interaction with collecting was based on heated competition and an intellectual and financial snobbery. By the bourgeois standards of the time, Tissot's collecting activities the acquisiti on of his collectibles, and his very public display of them could be perceived as flagrant and vulgar due to their excessiveness and their conspicuousness. This reading better accounts for the scoffing reviews of both Tissot's public atelier and his painti ng, Jeunes femmes. In addition to considering the social and cultural aspects of Second Empire collecting, this thesis also explored scholar Ikegami Ch gi's research. The previously undiscovered diaries of Prince Akitake and the watercolor painting support Ch gi's assertion that Tissot was the drawing master to the prince. Furthermore, his supposition that Tissot's collectibles were largely parting gifts bestowed by Japanese royalty gives precedence to the collectibles as being a primary motivator of Jeunes femmes Finally, considering the masculine competition cognate with collecting, it is understandable how such an affiliation with the aristocracy of Japan, via Tissot's teaching position and 148 I have been unable to travel to see if documents regarding Jeunes femmes' placement at the Salon of 1869 and its purchase exist. To my knowledge, no such documents have been cited by exist ing Tissot scholars.
87 through his ownership of the collectibles would position him alongside, or above, his bourgeois male counterparts. How such a position may have fostered envy amongst his peers and critics is equally comprehensible, though not empirically evidenced. While further research is needed to conclusively validate many of the claims of this th esis (in particular, those areas concerning modes of reception and Prince Akitake's relationship to Tissot) such research would require travel to Paris and to Tokyo. Such travel is unattainable at this time. This thesis does provide, however, valuable, fer tile ground on which to continue investigation and on which to consider this painting more extensively. Discovering where the painting was hung in the Salon of 1869 and which paintings surrounded it, and finding letters from Tissot regarding Jeunes femmes or the acquisition of his collectibles would also benefit this project. Personal letters, if they exist, conveying information about his relationship with the Parisian bourgeois society into which he assimilated would also nuance this thesis. How long did it take for him to sell the three compositions; at what cost and to whom? How long after the Salon of 1869 did his atelier remain open to public? Did he have knowledge of the Empress' Asian collection, and her public display of it? How, amid such negative critiques, did this painting, and the two others, remain saleable? Through expanding the current discourse on Jeunes femmes to examine the socio historical background that was Paris in the waning Second Empire, the implications of collecting for the Secon d Empire Parisian bourgeoisie, Tissot's interaction with Prince Akitake, and the significance of the public display of one's private interior and collection, this painting becomes a testament to a very specific time in Tissot's evolving career as a painter It remains a provocative commentary on conspicuous consumption and collecting
88 analogous to the decadent display of Second Empire Paris. Lastly, as other artists, such as douard Manet, Edgar Degas, and Claude Monet were judicious collectors of objet d'ar t I hope that my work here initiates further introspection and investigation of how these artists sought to construct their subjectivity in the face of the ever shifting boundaries of masculinity, class, taste, and achievement.
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Turner, Catherine Elizabeth.
Self-fashioning, consumption and japonisme :
b the power of collecting in Tissot's Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais, 1869
h [electronic resource] /
by Catherine ElizabethTurner.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 100 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This study examines self-fashioning and the practice of collecting in Second Empire Paris as manifest in James Tissot's Jeunes femmes regardant des objets japonais (1869, Cincinnati Museum of Art). The painting, exhibited in the Salon of 1869, conspicuously portrays Tissot's own collection of exotic Asian collectibles and the artist's private luxe interior. When scholars investigate and interpret Jeunes femmes, it is regularly defined within the prescriptive realm of Tissot's later London paintings, or of his well known series, La Femme ?Paris. I argue for a less circumspect engagement with the painting, by focusing on the portrayal of the collectible objects and the decadent interior as evidence of bourgeois self-fashioning and the decorous display and consumption concomitant with Second Empire Paris. This thesis considers the history of collecting in Second Empire Paris; in particular, the early impact of japonisme on Tissot's artwork.Recent scholarship largely regards Tissor's initial engagement with japonisme, as demonstrated by Japonaise au bain (1864, Mus? des Beaux-Arts, Dijon) and Jeune femme tenant des objets japonais (1865, Private Collection), as trite. I argue that such categorizing biased sound consideration of Jeunes femmes. I investigate Tissot's interaction with Japanese aristocracy and contend that his appointment as drawing instructor to Prince Akitake marked a turning point in his artistic career and in his reputation as a collector. This thesis also explores the role of fetish as an operative analytical tool. By employing the theories of Freudian and Marxist fetish, I am able to scrutinize the collectible objects' inclusion and meticulous representation, account for the obsessive nature of the collector and investigate specific strategies of posturing and self-promotion.Moreover, I can discuss the painting, and the collection it portrays, as a producing agent for Tissot's own artistic and social legacy. Ultimately, I conclude that Jeunes femmes, a richly detailed painting of Tissot's collectibles and interior space, is implicitly concerned with bourgeois self-fashioning and Tissot's own need for financial and social legitimization.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Heather Vinson, M.A.
x Art History
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.