Tillot, Charles

Impressionism, the partakers of the expositions:

Charles-Victor Tillot

(1825 – 1906)

a forgotten partaker of 6 ‘impressionist’ expositions


Was Charles Tillot an Impressionist?
Charles Tillot exhibited at 6 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions. Only Pissarro, Degas, Morisot and Rouart did exhibit more often. So this is more often than Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Gauguin and Cézanne. In most books about Impressionism Charles Tillot is not mentioned at all or mainly as partaker of ‘impressionist’ expositions. On the internet some important internet pages have no data on Charles Tillot (iR2;iR5;iR127;iR195). The information I could find on the internet is very limited and I could find less than 10 pictures made by Tillot. How come that this important figure within the ‘impressionist’ expositions is so forgotten?
Because of the limited information I can’t tell if Tillot was active in the organisation and preparations of the ‘impressionist’ expositions. It is known that Tillot had close contacts with Degas and Rouart and indirectly with Cassatt. And also with pre-impressionists like Rousseau and Millet. About other contacts with Impressionists there is not much known. I hope that by studying sources around Degas, Rouart, Cassatt, Rousseau and Millet there will be more known about Tillot. Because Tillot so often participated within the ‘impressionist’ expositions and because he belonged to an important circle of friends (that of Degas and Rouart) I dare to claim that Tillot was a central figure within the ‘impressionist’ art-movement. I hope that in the future he will be rehabilitated and will receive ample space within books on Impressionism.
Sources state that Tillot painted in the style of the Barbizon school and that his flower pieces are not impressionistic. When I look at the small number of his pictures I notice that they are quite colourful, but that he also uses several brown and greyish tones. He doesn’t use small juxtaposed brushstrokes. In his work of the Sacré Coeur he uses violet tones for the shades. In many of his titles Tillot renders an indication of place, though often not very detailed. In just 1 title he renders an indication of season (5IE-1880-197) and in just 1 an indication of weather (8IE-1886-203). Many works he exhibited with the ‘impressionists’ were called studies, something that is not very impressionistic. So probably Tillot did not paint in an explicit impressionist style, though there were some impressionist tendencies. But I hope that in the near future there will be more works known of Tillot, so we are able to give a more reasoned opinion.

Charles(-Victor) Tillot and the Salon:
Tillot made his debut at the Salon of 1846 with a self-portrait (R9;iR3;iR4;R3;R16). After that he exhibited in 1849 + 1855 + 1859 + 1861 (iR1;iR4;iR3). Note: the 1855 Salon was at the same time the art exhibition for the Exposition Universelle (iR1;aR12). In 1863 he was rejected and exhibited at the Salon des Refusés. Only in 1870 he exhibited again at the Salon (iR1). So summarizing, Tillot exhibited irregularly at the Salon. From 1846 till 1849 he exhibited 5 figure paintings. After that from 1855-1870 he exhibited 9 landscapes and in 1870 he exhibited again 1 figure painting. So he didn’t exhibit (flower) still-lives, what he would do very often with the ‘impressionist’. 1876 onwards Tillot seems to have chosen to be independant of the Salon and joined 6 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions (R2). At the Centennale of the Exposition Universelle of 1900, there was 1 flower still-life exhibited from the Henri Rouart collection made by ‘Claude-Victor Tillot’ (R231). I couldn’t find any other information about Tillot exhibiting elsewhere. See link for a thematical overview of his pictures and an account.

Charles Tillot joined 6 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions:
At the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1876 Tillot showed 8 works, all landscapes (catalogue numbers 245-252; R2,p165). There were no reviews. Tillot was invited by Degas (R3;R5,p125)
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Tillot showed 14 works, including 11 landscapes / city views (catalogue numbers 228-241; R2,p206/7). There were 5 reviews. C.D. reviewed in ‘Le Petit Moniteur universel’ (1877/04/08) ‘At the head of all these artists, I would place Tillot, who exhibited exquisite landscapes.’ (R90I,p142).
At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 Tillot showed 12 works, including 7 flower still-lives and 2 figure paintings (catalogue numbers 231-241; R2,p27/1), no.238 containing 2 works. There were 9 reviews, all positive about his flower still-lifes, one calling him ‘an outstanding flower painter’. One reviewed that his ‘paintings would certainly be noticed at the Salon’ and another ‘without being in the least a revolutionary’. (R90I)
At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 Tillot showed at least 20 works, including 5 landscapes and 5 still-lives (catalogue numbers 193-206; R2,p314), no. 204+205 both containing at least 4 works. There were 8 reviews. Silvestre (1880/05/01) reviewed ‘Mr Tillot, too, does not seem to me to be impressionistic at all.’ (R90I,p308). 
At the 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1881 Tillot showed at least 13 works (catalogue numbers 140-149; R2,p356), I assume no. 149 contained at least 4 works. There were 5 rather positive reviews (R90I). During the preparations in a lettre to Pissarro (1881/01/24) Caillebotte was opposed to the crowd that Degas dragged along. ‘The only ones of his friends who have any right (to exhibit) are Rouart and Tillot…’ (R1,p449;R102,p275). Rewald mentions there were distinct factions in 1881  and he includes Tillot to the faction of Degas (R1,p449).
Tillot didn’t exhibit at the 7th exposition in 1882, because Jean-François Raffaëlli was refused and therefore Degas didn’t participate either. Tillot showed solidarity with them (iR4).
At the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 Tillot showed at least 20 works, including 9 still-lifes and 4 nudes (catalogue numbers 202-217; R2,p447). There were 10 reviews, some compared his nudes with Fragonard (R90I).
Summarizing, Tillot mostly was remarked by several art-critics, mostly quite positive and more than once he isn’t seen as an ‘impressionist’. See link for a thematical overview of his pictures and an account.

Charles Tillot as an artist:
Tillot was a pupil of Henry (or: Ary or: Hendrik) Scheffer and later on of Théodore Rousseau (iR1;aR4;aR5;aR7;iR4;iR3;iR69;R9;R3;R16). Rousseau also became a friend of his (aR4;aR5) and Tillot is called one of his discipels (R226,p111). Tillot also was inspired by Jean-François Millet (R9;R3;iR3). He painted in the style of the Barbizon school (R3). Others say that this style developed into a more impressionist style with more atmospheric fluidity and light (R9).  He mainly painted landscapes, portraits and flower still lives (R3,p193;R16;iR4). The latter are not to be called impressionistic (R3,p193).
Tillot was befriendship with Degas and Ernest & Henri Rouart (iR4;R9;R3;R1,p366;iR3). In 1860 he moved to Barbizon, about 60km south-east of Paris, bought the house ‘La Taupinière’, and lived across his neighbour Jean-François Millet (iR4;R9;iR3;iR1;R92,p16), who would become his friend. Tillot and his wife became godparents for Anne-Marie Millet and they took care for him during his deathbed in 1875. Tillot wrote the posthumous catalogue des ‘oeuvres de J.-François Millet’ for the auction at Hôtel Drouot, including a biography (aR1;aR7;aR5;aR4;iR4;iR3;iR40). He praised Millet for having put his heart in his oeuvre (aR1,pXI). Earlier 1868/01/19 Tillot signed, together with others, a letter concerning the posthumous sale of Théodore Rousseau (iR23). He also was involved in writting ‘Catalogue des oeuvres de Théodore Rousseau, 1868’ (aR7). Tillot also had indirect contacts with Cassatt (iR4;iR3). Tillot became withdrawn is his later life (iR3).
1851 onwards Tillot was an art-critic for ‘Le Siècle’; he reviewed the Salon from 1851-54 (aR4;iR3;R3;iR4;aR8;aR7). In 1853 he reviewed a work of Rousseau ‘a march in Les Landes’ (1852-53, 63×97, Louvre): ‘in spite of a most accomplished execution, he has been able to retain in his painting the same qualities that are found in his fine sketches’ (aR9). Tillot also was a collector of Japanese prints (aR2;aR3;R3;iR3;iR4). He also did some photography and was member of the ‘Société Française de photographie’ from 1871-94 (iR26;iR3).


Charles-Victor Tillot, a short biography:

  • 1825/04/09: Charles-Victor Tillot was born in Rouen (aR7;iR4;iR3;iR8;R3;iR1;iR26;R92,p16)
    some wrongly render 1823/04/09 as date of birth (aR5;aR8)
    at the Centennale of 1900 he was called Claude-Victor (R231)
  • 1829/10/17: his brother Emile was born (aR7).
    He would later work and publish as a medical doctor (aR7)
  • 1839: arrived in Paris; study at the école des Beaux-Arts (R3;R9;iR3;aR4)
  • 1846-8: Tillot lived at 30, rue Fontaine-Saint-Georges, Paris (iR1) in the 9th arrondissement (iR9)
  • 1849-86: Tillot lived at 42, rue Fontaine (Saint-Georges), Paris (iR1); close to his former address and to Degas (iR1;iR26;iR4;aR5;R2); probably in 1877 wrongly noted as 4, rue Fontaine-St.-George (R2,p207)
  • 1855: Tillot dwelled at 92, Rue d’Hauteville, Paris (iR1), in the 10th arrondissement
  • 1858/03/17: Charles-Victor Tillot married Bolanche Jary (aR16=iR79), born 1837/10/26; departure 1918/10/23 (aR17=iR6)
  • 1859: his son Maurice Tillot was born; he would die in 1945 (aR17=iR6;aR16=iR79)
  • 1862/04/17: his son René was born; he would die 190?/12/08 (aR17=iR6;aR16=iR79);
  • 1867: his son Jules Henri was born (he became an advocate); he would die 1898 (aR16=iR79)
  • 1868: Tillot with others was involved in a posthumous sale of works of Rousseau (iR23); Tillot wrote a biography (aR4) ‘a catalogue des oeuvres de Théodore Rousseau‘ (aR5;aR7;R92,p16)
  • 1876: Tillot dwelled at 7, rue Duperré (R2,p165), in the 9th arrondissement (iR9)
  • 1887/05/14: auction of (a part of) the collection of Charles Tillot at Hôtel Drouot (aR10=iR19;aR11=iR24)
  • 1892: (probably) his son René Tillot, born in Barbizon, living at 42, Rue Fontaine exhibited a drawing for architecture at the Salon (iR1)
  • 1895: retrospective at Durand-Ruel (R9;R3)
  • 1900/06/16: there was an auction at Hôtel Drouot of ’the collection C. Tillot’, including ‘Les estampes japonaise’ (catalogue numbers 1-174) (aR3=iR40)
  • 1901/04/26+27: there was an auction at Hôtel Drouot of ’the collection de M. Ch. Tillot’; the 26th ‘Les estampes japonaise’ (catalogue numbers 1-164 + 314-336) and the 27th ‘Les objets d’art, etc’ (catalogue numbers 165-313) (aR2=iR40)
  • 1906/06/03 : Charles Victor Tillot died in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, see death certificate no.1026 of the 6th arrondissement of Paris dated 1906/06/04 ‘on the departure of Charles Victor Tillot, 81 years old, artist painter, born in Rouen (Seine Inferieur), died yesterday at 2pm, son of Etienne Placide Tillot and of Fanny Renaux(?),  spouse deceased, maried with Blanche Clotilde Jary(?), aged 68 years without profession. Drawn up for us by ?? assistent of the civil registrar of the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Chevalier de Légion d’Honneur.’ Etc. (aR13=iR106;iR66;iR4).
    Note1: Wikipedia and Wikidata link to a wrong document.
    Note 2: several sources (mostly auction sites) wrongly render 1877 as his year of death (iR41;iR11;iR16)
    Note 3: several sources indicate that Tillot died in 1895 in Rouen (R3;iR3;iR4;M1;iR8).
    Note 4: Anne Distel mentions this was after 1900 (R92,p16). Other sources leave out the date of death (iR26).


My main sources are Rewald (1973=R1), Moffett (1986= R2), Walther (2013=R3,p700; 1x picture,p264), Denvir (1993=R5), Schurr & Cabanne (2008=R9,p698), Spiess (1992=R16,p339), Wildenstein (1996=R22,vol.I), Rey (2012=R92), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3+iR4), BNF (iR26+iR40), Bénézit (iR69), revolvy (iR123) and the additional references (aRx; see below). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are Wikimedia (iR6), Google images (iR10), Artnet (iR13), Artprice (iR16; 8x), invaluable (iR17), Arcadja (iR18) and the additional references (aRx). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.

For further reading:
Bénézit (1976=R75); Busse (1977=R77); Witt (1978=R78); Thieme/Becker (=R79); Künstlerlexikon (R81). (iR60)

Additional references (=aRx):

  1. gallica.bnf.fr//6pt6k1240080s (posthumous catalogue of the auction sale of the collection of Jean-François Millet at Hôtel Drouot 1875/05/10+11; =iR40)
  2. gallica.bnf (auction catalogue 1901/04/26 of Japanese art from the collection of Tillot=iR40)
  3. gallica.bnf (auction catalogue 1900/06/16 of Japanese prints from the collection of Tillot=iR40)
  4. gallica.bnf.fr//6pt6k5861239f (notification on Tillot on page 763 in Glaeser, Ernest: Paris, 1878; =aR4=iR40)
  5. gallica.bnf.fr//6pt6k113384f (notification on Tillot in page 574 in Bellier de La Chavignerie, Émile (1821-1871): Dictionnaire général des artistes de l’École française; (1882-85) =iR40)
  6. gallica.bnf.fr//6pt6k114630d (in addition to aR7 a notification on 2 works of Tillot on page 158 in Oursel, Noémi-Noire: Nouvelle biographie normande, supplément. Paris, 1888; =iR40)
  7. archive.org (note on Tillot on page 515 of Oursel: Nouvelle biographie Normande, Tome premier, Paris 1886; =iR19;iR4)
  8. media19.org (references / links to aR4-7)
  9. google.books (review of Tillot on ’the landscapes of Rousseau’ p52=iR131)
  10. archive.org//333925 (work of Rousseau, once in the Tillot collection and auctioned at Hôtel Drouot 1887/05/14 under no.2; =iR19)
  11. rkd.nl//tillot (drawing of J.F. Millet which was once in the Tillot collection and auctioned at Hôtel Drouot 1887/05/14 under no.38; =iR24)
  12. x
  13. archives-paris.fr//1906/ décès/06/6D155  (death certificate number 1026 of Charles Victor Tillot = page 10/13 ;=iR106)
  14. fineart.ha.com//5002-63020.s  (this webpages claims this flower still-life was exhibited as 3IE-1877-239 and as EU-19000633; =iR258)
  15. beverlymitchell.com//tillot (reproduction of a flower still-life by Tillot)
  16. gw.geneanet.com//tillot (familytree of Charles Tillot; =iR79)
  17. commons.wikimedia.org//tillot (photo of the family grave; =iR6)
  18. x



Recommanded citation: “Charles-Victor Tillot, a forgotten partaker of 6 ‘impressionist’ expositions. Last modified 2022/08/21.  https://www.impressionism.nl/tillot-charles/