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James Abbott McNeill Whistler

1834 - 1903

Fumette’s Bent Head by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Fumette’s Bent Head   1859

  Original etching and drypoint.
Signed in the plate.
Ref: Kennedy 57 ii/ii – after cancellation.
S 320 x 253 mm; P & I 224 x 151 mm
Richly inked impression from the cancelled plate.

Fumette’s Bent Head dates from the end of Whistler’s first intense period of etching, 1858-59, during which time he had published his first group of etchings. Whistler had lived with the model for this etching, a milliner whose real name was Eloise, during his time in Rue St. Sulpice in Paris. Its title, Fumette’s Bent Head, is derived from a nickname, and through her notoriously fiery temperament – she is known to have torn up a number of Whistler’s drawings in one of her more tempestuous moments.

There are the remains of a faint secondary portrait at the lower right of this image which some have suggested was a self portrait of Whistler himself.

On cream laid paper with fleur-de-lys watermark, with full margins. Two small repairs in outer margin of sheet, otherwise very fine condition.