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An Exercise in Paper!

Recognize this painting????

First - A little background....

This painting was done by James Tissot in October of 1877. Tissot was a French painter and illustrator who was well known in England during the mid-1800s. He was the son of a tailor and a dressmaker. Consequently, he was well acquainted with fabric and the fashion of the day. The woman in the above pic is his companion - Kate. Their 7 year love story was untimely cut short by Kates death in 1882. Inconsolable, Tissot left England, never to return. England's loss turned out to be France's gain. Tisso moved to Paris and quickly made a name for himself. This is where we see most of the examples of his work. He became well known for being able to capture the details of the fashionably dressed women of Paris.

Back to the present and why I posted the painting in the first place...

When mom and I were at the Montreal Art Museum a while back, there was a very interesting exercise in the use of alternate media to reproduce historical fashion. The premise of the assignment was to explore alternative media to recreate the dress worn in a piece of fine art.


This particular costume was reproduced entirely out of paper. Not just regular old crumpled up newspaper. The artists – Veronique Borboen and Michael Slack used a dozen different kinds of paper and took over 200 hours to create the reproduction piece.

The entire project was so well done that when standing 3 feet from the finished dress, it was difficult to tell where the paper ended, and the fabric began. Turned out there was no fabric anywhere. Every texture and "fabric" was interpreted perfectly in paper!

Take a look at the details. The feathers, the silk on Kates hat, the wool on her coat and the shiny silk on her dress are all different types of paper. I'm sure you will be just as impressed as I was. It really struck me with just how many ways a simple straight forward medium, can be manipulated to look and behave like something else.

Pretty cool!

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