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Today's notices

  • Online Exhibition: Per Astera by Malaika Z Charbonneau

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Malaika Z Charbonneau exhibits her latest markings, using paint and canvas to explore..
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  • “10th Anniversary” Online Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for a..
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  • 15th Solo Art Series – Online Solo Art Exhibition Opportunity

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces its 15th “Solo Art Series”..
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  • 2020 Social Distancing Exhibition

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    $1,000 in Artist Prizes. We know, you’re stuck at home. While many are stocking..
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  • 10th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Call for Art - 5th Annual Animal Kingdom Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 5th Annual Animal Kingdom online art competition. For..
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  • Call for Art - Still Life Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for its 14th Quarterly Art Competition – Still Life. For..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition

    Location: , ON

    $4500 in Awards - The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites..
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  • Beacon Original Art Spring Show & Sale

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Annual spring 2-day art show and sale with different artists in attendance each..
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  • Nooks & Crannies Outdoor Art Festival: Call to Artists

    Location: Okotoks, AB

    Okotoks Culture seeks proposals from artists to create temporary public art installations in..
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  • BORDERS - ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS BORDERS | Venice July-Nov 2020 ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival Deadline:..
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  • $550.00 Innovate Grants — Call for Artists + Photographers

    Location: , NY

    Innovate Grant is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2020 Cycle. Innovate Grant..
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  • 27th Lemonville Group of Artists Show and Sale

    Location: Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

    Please join The Lemonville Group of Artists for their 27th Annual Art Show..
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  • “Sensuality” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline April 30, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: A glance, touch, dance, flower, scent or piece of chocolate can..
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  • Artwork Shipping Scam

    Location: , AB

    This week an artist on our site was corresponding via email with an..
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  • Geoff Farnsworth: Colour Worker

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Join the Niagara Pumphouse for the opening reception for the exhibition entitled, “Geoff..
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  • Call for Entries: Art at the Pumphouse

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre is now accepting applications for participation in Art..
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  • Exaltation : Niagara Pumphouse Instructors' Exhibition

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Niagara Pumphouse is proud to host the Instructors’ Exhibition as its first show..
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  • Art, Wine, Interior Design Show

    Location: Winnipeg, MB

    Art, Wine, Interior Design Show! Exhibitor opportunities for Visual artists, Interior Designers and Wineries. Finding..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition

    Location: , ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • Love At First Sight

    Location: Regina, SK

    Love At First Sight / Regina Art Collective members: Dave Gedjos / DeLee Grant..
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  • In Other Words

    Location: Regina, SK

    In Other Words / Regina Art Collective members: Nikki Jacquin / Derek Olson / Mark..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020 Venice | April 09 – May..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY 2020

    Location: London,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY – MIXING CULTURES ITSLIQUID International Art Exhibition THE..
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  • Appreciation of the Arts

    Location: London, ON

    Three day art and music event to recognize local artists in London, Ontario...
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  • Call to Artists - 2020 Sooke Fine Arts Show

    Location: Sooke, BC

    Artists are invited to submit work for consideration to the 2020 Sooke Fine..
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  • ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) 2020

    Location: Brussels,

    ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) is back on October 15-18, 2020 for its 14th..
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  • Call For Artists: The Other Art Fair Toronto

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Other Art Fair are thrilled to present the newest edition of The..
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  • Marlene Kawalez and Corynn Kokolakis

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. March..
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James Tissot - The Letter

By Robert Amos December 19, 2004

} James Tissot - The Letter By Robert Amos As a child I was occasionally taken to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Most of the experience is a blur to me now, but one painting fascinated me then and has left a lasting impression. La Demoiselle de Magasin (1883-5) shows the shop girl standing inside the show window of a millinery shop. The perfection of the painting - her dress, the fancy ribbons for sale, reflections in the glass, and the busy world going on outside - seemed miraculous to me. The painter was James Tissot. Since then I have learned that there is more to art than a fine finish and a pretty face. But painting remains more visual magic than theory, and I have continued to admire Tissot. At the moment one of his fine canvases is on show in Victoria. The Letter by James Tissot The Letter shows a meticulously painted Dutch-style garden in London. An atmosphere of melancholy pervades the scene. The season is autumn, the light is lowering, and the horse-chestnuts are shedding their yellow leaves as we look on. At the right side a conservatory lets onto a patio where a servant - a footman in silk stockings - is clearing away the dishes from a tea party. He steals a glance at the woman standing in the garden nearby. The woman is dressed in sombre tones, almost mourning. She pays no notice to the servant, for she is lost in her own none-too-happy thoughts. She holds a letter in her hands, and bits of white paper - torn up fragments of the letter - swirl about her, cascading to the ground among the autumn leaves. The clarity of every detail, from the distant arcade to the raised stitching on her leather gloves, is painted with confidence and panache. Jacques Joseph Tissot was born in France in 1836. He doesn’t fit easily into that march of progress which we know as art history. As a painter of the contemporary scene, he is included here with the French painters known as the Realists. Those painters, from Corot through Cezanne, usually created an art more infused with the improvised brushwork of plein air painting. Tissot’s technique doesn’t follow this trend. After training in the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, he exhibited in the annual Salons from 1859 to 1870, showing porcelain smooth, detailed scenes from Medieval and Directoire eras. Tissot couldn’t renounce his style, but he progressively abandoned historical fiction as subject matter. He began to set his scenes in the contemporary world. Though in earlier times artists had learned to paint by copying other painters, and much was reduced to a formula. Tissot’s penetrating observation of the world around him - for example to brilliantly rendered chestnut leaves - was based on drawing from nature and the judicious use of photographs. The new patrons were wealthy bourgeois, and so Tissot peopled his pictures with portraits of them, at home or at play. The characters in The Letter seem motivated by the concerns one would find in a novel by Emile Zola. Though they seem confident to us, “for the Victoria viewer,” Christopher Wood has written, “Tissot’s pictures represented the uneasy, even ridiculous world of the socially aspiring... Where we see only elegance and distinction, they saw merely vulgar, over-dressed people.” Tissot’s own life is the stuff of novels. The last vestiges of the French monarchy was restored after the revolution of 1848, and Napoleon III later began an ill-advised war with Prussia. The Prussians invaded Paris and left the governing to a new Commune. Tissot fought against the Prussians from the walls of the city, but soon became involved with the Commune. When it fell after two months, Tissot fled to London in 1871. Monet and Pissaro were also in London at the time but, unlike them, Tissot exhibited at the Royal Academy. For the next eleven years he painted portraits and genre pieces with great success. He lived openly with the beautiful Irish divorcee Kathleen Newton who became the model for many of his paintings. A frisson of the socially-unaccepable tinges many of his paintings and at times they project a mood of unmistakable tension and unease. Newton died of consumption and Tissot returned to Paris in 1882, where he set to reclaim his reputation with a series of fifteen paintings of The Women of Paris. In the midst of this, he underwent a religious conversion and dedicated the rest of his life to painting the life of Christ. The Letter is a painting from his years in London. There is a clarity here which is photographic, or even cinematic. This easy facility judged against Tissot’s reputation for many years, as the more rugged aspects of Monet and Van Gogh took the high ground. But now that the juggernaut of modernism has passed, we are free to rediscover and enjoy this fine artist of the past. There will be many young visitors to the gallery who, ignorant of the march of art history, will find this painting by Tissot fascinating. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com