Old Woman and Child in Oval (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate)

James McNeill Whistler American

Not on view

Whistler made his first etchings while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a copper plate, on which he etched topographic renderings of coastlines, then sketched freely drawing figures. This fragment was trimmed from a printed proof and given to Thomas given to Thomas Winans, a friend in Baltimore who financed Whistler's move to Paris in 1855, allowing him to pursue an artistic career. These lightly sketched characters relate to an early Mark Twain story–"Mrs. Partington and Ike." Winans mounted the fragment in an album of Whistler's early work that his descendants gave to the Museum.

Old Woman and Child in Oval (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate), James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London), Etching; proof impression of the only state (Glasgow 1); this is a fragment cut from the upper portion of "Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate" (Kennedy no. 1) by Whistler and mounted on a board with six other related fragments. Cited by Glasgow as the earliest known impression.

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