Oil on canvas
Unframed: 101 x 61.5 cm (39 3/4 x 24 3/16 in.)
Partial gift from Ralph and Terry Kovel and Family, and partial purchase from the John L. Severance Fund 2022.140
Tissot was close friends with Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Berthe Morisot, but declined Degas’s invitation to participate in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874.
Born and trained in France, Tissot spent eleven years working in London (1871–82). He painted this view of two figures at door a pivotal moment when he was trying to establish himself in the British art world by focusing on subjects that would appeal to the Victorian taste for storytelling subjects. The scene apparently depicts a couple just after the man has proposed marriage and is waiting for a reply. The door may have a symbolic meaning: will she let him cross the “threshold” into her life, or leave him waiting outside? During this moment of suspense, attention is drawn to the sumptuous dress, the intense natural light, and the artist’s fascination with the sophisticated fashions of the new, urban, middle-class.
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