Jacques Joseph Tissot was born in 1836 in Nantes, France into the family of a merchant. In c. 1856-57 he came to Paris with the desire to become a painter. He entered the Academy of Fine Arts (Ecole des Beaux-Arts) and studied in the studios of Ingres
and Flandrin. Much of his education, though, Tissot received informally, through friends and acquaintances among avant-garde artists and writers. Among his influential contacts were Edouard Manet
, Edgar Degas
, and James McNeill Whistler
. The latter evidently had a strong impression on the young artist, shortly after meeting Whistler Tissot anglicized his first name to "James". He was a close friend of Degas; Degas painted an interesting portrait of Tissot. But they later quarreled, and Tissot refused to participate in the Impressionists exhibitions.