Rare Tissot resources on display in the Libraries and Archives

The Tissot exhibition recently opened to the public. On your visit to see the exhibition, don’t forget to stop by the Libraries and Archives display cases to view additional Tissot materials from our Special Collections and Archives. On display are early Tissot exhibition catalogs, a limited edition book set signed by Tissot, and letters regarding the 1900 exhibition installation, and purchase of the collection.  Also, there are rare illustrated Bibles from the Library collection in the Tissot exhibition.


Portrait of Tissot. American Art Association (1898).The life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: illustrated by over four hundred paintings and drawings taken from the four Gospels and from studies made in Palestine by J. James Tissot / exhibited under the management of the American art association of New York, managers for J. James Tissot, New York. New York: Press of J.J. Little & co., 1898.

Tissot’s artworks attracted much attention at the turn of the twentieth century. The traveling tour of Tissot’s watercolors drew masses of people, the record being 23,000 visitors in one day in Chicago. At the closure of the tour in 1900, the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences agreed to solicit funds for purchase of the collection, in part by public subscription. The call for help was made to Brooklynites through a series of notices and announcements in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Subscriptions flowed in at the rate of $300 – $1000 per day for several months, and the names of contributing individuals were periodically published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. These articles can be viewed online through Brooklyn Public Library’s digitization of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Conducting a simple keyword search for “Tissot” will return many results, revealing the public perception of Tissot’s artwork and the story of how the citizens of Brooklyn came together to acquire these works for the Brooklyn Museum collection.