Young Woman in a Rocking Chair, study for the painting The Last Evening
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Jacques Joseph Tissot
French, London, about 1873
Brush with gouache and watercolor, over graphite on brown wove laid paper
11 5/16 x 17 in.

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Jacques Joseph Tissot made this drawing as an elaborate study for a well-known painting, The Last Evening, now in the collection of the Guildhall Art Gallery in London.

The young woman is contemplating the departure of her love, a sailor who is preparing to go out to sea. Tissot, who often drew and painted people in introspective states of mind, captured her sitting pensively in a rocking chair. She seems lost in thought, staring forward. The fingertips of her right hand barely rest against her pale cheek while her legs extend to reach the chair's footrest. He portrays the woman's clothes realistically, carefully depicting her black-and-white plaid tunic, and juxtaposing it with the brown-red tartan of her skirt. A hat wrapped in gauzy fabric surrounds her shock of strawberry-blonde hair. Tissot used heightening to create vivid and shiny highlights along the chair's frame, while gentle shadows fall beneath the chair, adding depth. His use of gouache simulates the look of oil painting.

Tissot's friend, Margaret Freebody, served as the model for the study and painting. Freebody's husband and brother appear in the painting as well, which depicts the figures gathered on the deck of a ship.