Soupe à trois sous

James McNeill Whistler American

Not on view

The title of this print translates as soup for three pennies and indicates that the men shown sit in a cheap café or bar (notes left by Whistler suggest it is the Café des Pieds-Humides ('Café of the Wet Feet') in Paris). Soon after making this etching, Whistler moved to London, took lodgings south of Tower Bridge, then recorded a similar scene in an etching titled "Longshore Men"). Black bottles on the tables here, near men who slouch or sleep, evoke the addictive properties of alcohol and the signature, etched at upper center on an otherwise unadorned wall, reads like a fragment of graphiti.

Soupe à trois sous, James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London), Etching; only state (Glasgow); printed in black ink on thin buff Japan

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