THE HAMMOCK: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, is the story of ten remarkable years in the life of James Tissot (1836 – 1902), who rebuilt – and then lost – his reputation in London.
By 1870, at age 34, he had become a multi-millionaire celebrity with an opulent new Parisian villa and studio among aristocratic neighbors near the Arc de Triomphe. Handsome and charming, his friends included the painters James McNeill Whistler, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and John Everett Millais. When the Prussians attacked Paris that year, Tissot became a sharpshooter in the artists’ brigade defending the besieged capital. After a bloody Communist rebellion, fought virtually at the doorstep of his mansion, he fled to London.
Amid suspicions that he was a Communist, he quickly rebuilt his brilliant career among the Industrial Age’s nouveaux riches. In 1876, Tissot took a young Irish divorcée as his mistress and muse. He referred to her only as “La Mystérieuse” and withdrew from Society to paint her in his garden paradise in the suburbs. Within three years, his pictures had pushed the boundaries of Victorian morality, and the British art establishment turned against him. In a debacle of friendship, fame and loss, his artistic heyday of painting a decade of glamour and leisure in London came to an end.
The Hammock is a psychological portrait, exploring the forces that unwound the career of this complex man. Based on contemporary sources, the novel brings Tissot’s world alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.
Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images
Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library
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