|James Abbott Mc Neill Whistler PRBA (1834-1903)|
Signed in plate "Whistler" and inscribed "Annie".
5 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches
Third state of three.
On laid paper with an elaborate watermark.
58 known impressions.
Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd, London. 1970
Arthur H. Harlow & Co, New York.
After falling ill in Russia while visiting his father, Whistler travelled to his sister's home in London and it was there that he first began to develop his interest in etching. Francis Seymour Haden was a keen collector of old masters prints, including Rembrandt etchings, and encouraged Whistler's interest in print making, taking him to lectures and visiting art galleries. Seymour Haden installed an etching press in the room at the top of his house where the two men took proof impressions of their work.
Whistler experimented greatly with the paper that he used, favouring thin, glossy Japan paper and laid paper with old Dutch watermarks. He often printed the same image onto more than one type of paper, the individual qualities of which added variety to each impression.
Whistler spent Christmas 1858 in London with his sister, Deborah Delano Haden (1825-1908) and brother in law Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910). By the end of the first week of December, Whistler had begun to produce one of his most well known portraits, that of his niece Annie Haden. This sensitive etching of his sister's daughter 'Annie Seated', with its detailed treatment of the face and minimal treatment of the body suggests a strong influence of Rembrandt. Certainly the contemplative, slightly melancholy feel of the image recall the adolescent girls of the artist Millais.
This particular impression is signed in the plate "Whistler" and inscribed "Annie". It is on laid paper with an elaborate watermark and is one of only 58 known impressions. The quality of this particular etching is borne out by the fact that it was originally with the renowned art dealer Arthur H. Harlow and Co, on Fifth Avenue, New York, and subsequently with Thomas Agnew and sons in Old Bond Street, London.
It is one of the most beautiful etchings, on a small scale, measuring only 5 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches, and employing webs of cross hatching to create shadow and sculpt the face of Annie.
References: (K.30) Edward G. Kennedy, The Etched Work of Whistler, New York, The Grolier Club, 1910.
(G.32) Margaret F. MacDonald, Grischka Petri, Meg Hausberg, and Joanna Meacock, James McNeill Whistler: The Etchings, a catalogue raisonne, University of Glasgow, 2012.
James Abbott Mc Neill Whistler PRBA (1834-1903):
As a painter, etcher and lithographer Whistler is undoubtedly one of the great masters of the nineteenth century. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts he entered West Point Military Academy in 1851 but left to work as a cartographer for the Navy where he studied etching. In 1855 he went to Paris and came under the influence of Courbet and Manet. In 1859 he moved to London and completed his masterful Thames Set of etchings. Whistler's colourful personality led him to feud, most notably with John Ruskin and Oscar Wilde. He had many imitators including Walter Greaves and Mortimer Mempes. He exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, Society of British Artists, Grosvenor Gallery and elsewhere.