James McNeill Whistler American

Not on view

Whistler's mistress Heloise was nicknamed Fumette for her quick temper. Thought to be a gypsy, she worked as a milliner in the Latin Quarter of Paris and lived with the artist for two years. Her bohemian character is suggested here by hair worn loose, in defiance of convention, and crouching pose. Sympathetic to realist and naturalist ideas current in France, the artist avoided idealization or suggestions of universal meaning. Seymour Haden later recorded that Whistler etched the image before leaving for a tour of the Rhineland in mid-August 1868. After his October return, impressions were pulled for publication a month later in "Douze eau-fortes d'apres Nature" ("Twelve Etchings from Nature," known as the "French Set"). Evidently pleased with the print, the artist sent an impression to the Paris Salon of 1859.

Fumette, James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London), Etching, printed in black ink on gray chine on off-white wove paper (chine collé);  fifth state of five (Glasgow)

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