Tissot often painted a man with two women in order to explore the subtle nuances of flirtation and attraction through body language and facial expression. This painting depicts a naval officer and two women aboard a ship, a chaperone separating the officer from the object of his attention.
The Gallery of HMS Calcutta
86.3 x 63.5 cm
Oil on canvas
Date of work
Original: Oil on canvas 86.3 x 63.5 cm ® Tate, London
The early works of French painter James Tissot were literary and historical, often on Faustian themes. He was influenced by Oriental art like his friends Degas and Whistler and he painted in great detail. He was criticised for his lack of narrative which linked him to the Aesthetic movement. From 1876 he lived with his muse and mistress Kathleen Newton but after her death in 1882 returned to Paris.