It’s time to get past the surface shimmer and froth of James Tissot’s paintings. This 19th-century French artist seemed to revel in cascading tiers of pleated silk, and clearly was in thrall to ruffles. “James Tissot’s Ambiguous Modernity,” however, goes beyond la mode to analyze his influences, his painting techniques, and the cultural commentary—on religion, politics, society—that Tissot tied into his work with satin bows. This is the first Tissot retrospective in Paris since the 1985 exhibition at the Petit Palais. —L.J.
James Tissot's Ambiguous Modernity was featured in the June 20, 2020 issue of Air Mail. Read on
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