A young woman, dressed in diaphanous and flowing drapery and a scarf or kerchief over her hair, is seen sitting with legs crossed before a bed in which a child is lying. The woman is in profile, leaning to the right as she bring her face close to that of the child. The child is summarily sketched except for the head.
According to the Glasgow catalogue raisonné, the sitter is possibly Rose Pettigrew and her baby niece, Edith. In the early 1890s, Whistler drew a number of works of draped female models, including in both etching and drypoint.
On the plate, right center: Butterfly monogram Signed, in pencil, on tab, l.l.: Butterfly monogram and imp. Watermark: (small) Notation on back, in pencil, not by Whistler: K.362 only state/The Grande [sic] Place, Brussels (see catalogue card).
A large building with an open square before it dominates the composition. The building has elaborate architectural elements and is clearly a public or official place and has an arched pediment, finials, pilasters, and extensive glazing. In the square before the building are groupings of figures.
Although Whistler never provided a direct depiction of the principal public space in Venice, St. Mark's Square, this etching does show the main square in Brussels, the Grand Place, as well as the Maison des Ducs de Brabant that dominates the square.
Three women sit just inside the doorway of a building shown frontally to the viewer. The doorway is framed by windows on either side within an archietctural framework that connects the windows and door with a dado under the windows. The women have a large piece of fabric laid over their laps on which they are working. The woman at the left is angled so that she is looking into the room; the other two look out at the viewer. The profile of a fourth woman is visible in the central window on the left side of the door.
Whistler's continuing interest in the arrangements of doorways and windows as a compositional focus dates back to his early work in the French Set. Here, the composition recalls some of his Venice etchings, such as "The Bead-Stringers", but is handled with the light, hair-like fine lines of the Amsterdam etchings. The result is an of evansecent, almost shimmering effect of light.
Three arched openings (windows flanking a central door) are obscured by the trunks and foliage of two slender trees positioned in front of the building. Neither the tree trunks nor the building facade are drawn completely down to the ground.
Whistler focused on lithography over etching during the 1890s, making his etched views of Paris, that were never printed in editions, quite rare.
Here, Whistler draws a partial representation of a cafe at the Palais Royal. The details of the building and the sense of recession into space are essentiall cancelled by the slender trees that obscure the view. As if directly evoking the "Floating World" of Japanese prints, the elements are not drawn to the ground level, leaving them detached and unanchored within the composition. A further reference to Asian art is the way the trunks divide the scene, much like a folding screen.
A partial view of a four-story building, concentrating on pairs of windows on each story and a wrought iron fence on the ground level. Windows have window boxes or balconies; on the ground level are several dogs on either side and a pair of milk cans at the center in front of the fence.
Whistler focused on lithography over etching during the 1890s, making his etched views of Paris, that were never printed in editions, quite rare.
Whistler uses a partial representation to evoke the whole, playing on the theme and variation offered by the pairs of windows on each floor of the building, as well as for the dogs and cans in the foreground. Another playful touch is the way he employs his "butterfly" signature on the left side to balance the join on the downspout on the right side of the image.
A seated woman in late 19th c. dress is shown against an undescribed dark background; she looks directly at the viewer and rests her chin on her right hand. At the lower left is a flower-like form that is the artist's "butterfly" signature.
Thought originally to portray one of Whistler's sisters-in-law (Ethel Whibley), recent scholarship suggests that this may portray his wife, Beatrix, probably fairly early in their marriage (they were married in 1888).
On the stone, l.r.: Butterfly monogram Signed, in pencil, on the mount: Whistler [Whistler's hand?] Collector's mark: T.R.W. (in rectangle) Thomas Robert Way. Lugt 246 On the sheet, in pencil, in T. R. Way's hand, l.r.: nocturne no. 5 On verso, in pencil, u.l.: Way
Set at night, a man in a lighter or small boat is seen in the foreground; in the distance stands the silhouettes of various buildings, including smokestacks, a clock tower, and a church spire, all of which are reflected in the water's surface, as well as reflections of lights and smoke.
This scene along the Thames shows industrial Battersea just opposite Whsitler's own home in the Chelsea region of London. Along the far bank were (reading left to right--although the objects are reversed by the printing process) the spire of St. Mary's church, the slag heap and smoke stacks of the Morgan Company, including the company's office tower known as "Mr. Ted Morgan's Folly."
The Nocturne was Whistler's signature creation and embodied many of Whistler's principal theories about art, including the translation of the everyday into the poetic and beautiful through the artist's creative process. Many of his Nocturnes began from drawings and sketches done from memory. Whistler's "Ten O'Clock" lecture provides a description that perfectly captures the intention and effect of his nocturnes, such as this:
"And when the evening mist clothes the riverside with poetry, as with a veil, and the poor buildings lose themselves in the dim sky, and the tall chimneys become campanili, and the warehouses are palaces in the night, and the whole city hangs in the heavens, and fairy-land is before us—then the wayfarer hastens home; the working man and the cultured one, the wise man and the one of pleasure, case to understand, as they have ceased to see, and Nature, who, for once, has sung in tune, sings her exquisite song to the artist alone."
A woman in a dress with long sleeves and a fitted bodice, long skirts and train that wraps across the figure to the left, and holding a fan stands against an undifferentiated background. Her figures is turned in a 3/4 pose, although her face is seen in profile.
Drawn on the same stone as "Early Morning", this view of Maud Franklin was published in the periodical "Piccadilly" in July of 1878.
Two men sit on a bench at the lower right. Behind them is a large expanse of water; barges ply the water while smokestacks and buildings are visible on the opposite shore. The overall impression is one of foggy weather and features are generally indistinct.
Whistler found that liminal times of day offered effects that he could translate into a particularly appealing visual poetry. Many of his works sited from the part of Chelsea where he lived looked across the Thames towards the industrial establishments of London; these unpromising views were transformed by his atmospheric and evocative portrayals.
A man in a small boat with oars sits in front of a bridge, a pier of which is just behind and to the left of the boat. The viewer is also positioned on the water as only the bottom of the span is visible. Several other piers, also framed and clad with wood to protect against collision are visible on either side of the image. The distant view, seen between the piers, include a suspension bridge to the left of the central pier and the tower of a church or other buildings to the right.
Whistler's interest in Asian art, particular Japanese woodblock prints, can be seen in this view of the old Battersea Bridge. The low vantage point, truncated span of the bridge, and the form of the boatman are all inspired by prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai.
Battersea Bridge was the last remaining wooden bridge in London when Whistler painted it and was itself slated for demolition and replacement. Like many of the warehouses and sites depicted in his Thames Set which were also scheduled for elimination as part of an urban renewal project, the old Battersea Bridge evoked a nostalgia for the passing of an era.
Two piers of a bridge soar in the upper half of the image, including the span with pedestrians and the railing at the top of the work. In the foreground, the water and reflections at the foot of the bridge dominate. Between the piers smoke stacks can be seen in the distance.
Although "The Tall Bridge" was drawn for the publication "Piccadilly", the periodical went bankrupt and the copies that had been printed on plate paper and intended for circulation were all tossed out. Only a handful of the copies printed for "Piccadilly" were saved, of which this is one.
Whistler's low vantage point gives the twin piers of the old Battersea Bridge an heroic stature. As with "The Broad Bridge", distant views of the city are visible between the piers; the pedestrian walkway is more completely shown.
A seated woman in a long dress and hat sits in profie reading. Her body is positioned looking towards the left. Behind the figure is broad diagonal hatching lines that create a sense of space while leaving the specific setting undescribed. At the lower right is a "butterfly" signature of the artist.
Whistler's model Maud Franklin is seen here reading. This lithograph was included in the portfolio "Notes", printed 1887 although the work was drawn in 1879.
A woman standing facing slightly to the left looks over her shoulder to the right. She has a Victorian dress with high collar, long sleeves and skirt; she is wearing a hat with a curved brim and comes to a point at the top; in her hands she is holding a pair of long gloves. Her figure casts a shadow on the right side of the image although there is no indication of surroundings or background,
Whistler's 1888 marriage to Beatrix Philip Godwin provided Whistler with the congenial company of his wife's siblings and mother. Here, Ethel Philip, who also acted as Whistler's secretary, is seen standing in fashionable dress in a pose closely related to the painting "Harmony in Brown: The Felt Hat" (Hunterian Art Gallery, Univ. of Glasgow).
"Gants de Suede" was published in "The Studio" in april 1894, although it is believed that this impression was from a group printed posthumously under the direction of his executrix, Rosalind Birnie Philip.
A woman, nude but for a diaphanous elbow-length drapery and a cap over her hair, stands facing the viewer with her head turned towards the right. The figure's right arm is extended gracefully from the side of her body, hand facing downward. Her left hand is extened at nearly a right angle, holding her drapery out, which further devines the curves of her body. Her weight is on her right leg as the left leg points forward.
Draped figures such as this occupied Whistler from the 1860s onward, but with particular focus during the early/mid 1890s. Usually these figures are posed standing; the implied movement of this figure is somewhat unusual.
A French town, with houses along a canal or river in the foreground extends in the distance showing rooflines and towers under a blustery sky.
During the 1893, the Whistlers made several trips to Brittany and the Low Countries. This transfer lithograph is an early example during which the artist incorported stump in his lithographs. The town of Vitré is shown from a high vantage point and is one of a group of architectural views he executed during this trip to Brittany.
A broad set of steps leading up to a tree-lined terrace are the main features of this work. Figures on the terrace and a sculpture of putti supporting an urn or pot are visible at the top of the stairs; in the left foreground, a woman and little girl are climbing the stairs.
Whistler drew several lithographs in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. This work shows one of the grand staircases leading to the terraces that fringe the sunken garden.
Whister was also further experimenting on the use of the stump which had worked so successfully in his Brittany lithographs.
In the lower left corner, two women are seen seated out of doors conversing in a park-like setting. In the middle distance is a large sculpture on a raised pedestal. Grouped around the sculpture are other small gatherings of people in conversation. Behind the figures and sculpture is the loose indication of trees.
Set in the Luxembourg Gardens of Paris, this scene does not describe the imposing terraces and stairs, but a quiet cul-de-sac where groups of people are quietly talking.
Whistler had considered offering this work for inclusion in "The Art Journal" but there was concern that the softeness of the stump, particularly visible in the trees behind the statue, would not allow for a large edition necessary for the publication.
The balustrade of a public park walkway seen at a slight distance acts as a foil for several figures grouped in front of the balustrade. To the left, two women stand talking while a child, with her back facing the viewer looks between the balusters towards the dome of a building in the distance beyond some trees. Too the right of the composition, a seated man and a woman shown in profile are grouped. Two ornamental urns decorate the balustrade.
During the Whistlers' short sojourn in Paris, Whistler frequently depicted scenes in the Luxembourg Gardens in both lithographs and, more rarely, in etchings. He used the architecture of the French formal garden to organize his compositions. Here he employed the balustrade, the dome of the Pantheon, and the urn that aligns with the dome to create a grid to anchor his figures. These prints invariably have an intimate character despite their public setting.
A woman draped in diaphanous drapery sits on a couch facing the viewer. The arm of the couch is visible at the left of the image and the woman glances down towards her knees. To the right is a flower-like form that is the artist's "butterfly" signature.
Draped figures were important to Whistler's work, reflecting his interest in Asian drapery as well as Greek 'tanagra' terracotta figurines that had become popular in Victorian England.
Whistler was asked by André Marty to submit a lithograph to Marty's publication, "L'Estampe Oiginale"; this image was the one that Whistler selected to be included in that French publication. As Whistler wrote to his printer Thomas Way, "The little sitting figure in drapery I am immensely pleased with...The work is beginning to have the mystery in execution of a painting."