Greenwich Pensioner

James McNeill Whistler American

Not on view

Whistler studied etching in London under the tutelage of his brother-in-law, Sir Francis Seymour Haden and in 1859 they visited Greenwich Park together, each making a print that depicts a resident of the nearby Royal Hospital for Seamen, a boarding house for ex-sailors. Brisk line work and careful shading depict sunlight flickering across the pensioner’s shirt, hat, and wrinkled pant legs. Focusing on the figure, Whistler eliminates the surrounding landscape that Haden emphasized in Sub Tegmine (Benath the Canopy, 17.3.276). Printmakers associated with the etching revival sought an expressive spontaneity akin to drawing in their works.

Greenwich Pensioner, James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London), Etching, printed in black ink on fine fibrous dark ivory laid Japan paper; second state of two (Glasgow)

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