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    JAMES JACQUES TISSOT (French, 1836-1902)
    The Prodigal Son: The Departure, 1880-81
    Oil on canvas
    27-1/4 x 36 inches (69.2 x 91.4 cm)
    Stenciled canvas verso: W. Badger/ ___/ 07, Boundary Road/ S. John's Wood/ & 49 Dorset Street/ Portman Square

    Artist's posthumous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, July 9-10, 1903, bought by Alfred Stroelin;
    Henri Brendle, Zurich, from whom bought by a private collector in 1929 and thence by descent;
    Sotheby's, November 22, 1983, lot 63;
    Christie's, New York, 19th Century European Art, October 27, 2004, lot 74.
    Sotheby's London, Victorian & Edwardian Art, July 15, 2008, Lot 56 (part).

    K. Matyjaszkiewicz, James Tissot 1836-1902, New York, 1984, pp. 133-134, cat. no. 153.

    The Departure is an oil study that is the first of a series of four paintings about the parable of the Prodigal Son. The series was exhibited throughout the 1880s and 90s, including shows at the 1882 exhibition at Dudley Gallery in London, Galerie Sedelmeyer, the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The larger finished series is at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, where the artist was born.

    Tissot visited the theme of the Prodigal Son throughout his career; for the 1880s series, however, he chose a modern representation. The Departure features a son conversing with his father, presumably about his departure. To his left his sister (Tissot's mistress Kathleen Newton) is pictured knitting and his brother seated with a contemplative gaze out the window.

    Another painting in the series is The Return, which depicts the reconciliation of the impoverished son and his father at the dockside, with his brother and sister standing beside. The last two pictures from the series, In Foreign Climes (sold Christies, New York, 27 October 2004, lot 75) and The Fatted Calf, relate the second and fourth parts of the story. In Foreign Climes depicts the young adventurer watching geishas dancing in a Japanese riverside tea-house, whilst The Fatted Calf depicts the family harmoniously reunited at a table in an English waterside rose bower.

    Condition Report*: Original canvas.  Overall minor craquelure, commensurate with age; slight frame abrasion along right and top edges; minor dent from canvas verso along lower right edge; scattered in-painting throughout, particularly in the lower right corner and in the figures, bookcase, table, and upper wall; masking varnish; otherwise good condition.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,098

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