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James Abbott McNeill Whistler

1834 - 1903

La Retameuse by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

La Retameuse   1858

  Original etching.
Signed in the plate.
Ref: Kennedy 14 ii/ii
S 173 x 150 mm; P & I 111 x 89 mm
Very fine impression printed with exceptional clarity on chine appliqué.

Issued by Delâtre and Whistler in late 1858, this etching was included in Whistler’s first published series of etchings, widely known as The French Set, under the title Douze Eaux-Fortes d’après Nature (Twelve Etchings from Nature). These etchings were made mostly during a journey to Alsace and Germany in the company of the painter Ernest Delannoy in 1858. For many years it was thought that they were drawn directly onto the plates, as Whistler is known to have carried his etching tools with him in his pocket. However, recent research has shown that many pencil sketches exist for certain of these works, suggesting that some may have been worked up into finished etchings upon his return to Paris. The resulting series of prints was released first in Paris in late 1858 and in London soon afterwards.

A particularly fine example of this superb portrait etching, printed with considerable plate tone. The sitter is, as the title states, a woman whose job it was to re-tin cooking pans. Kennedy records that impressions of this etching have always been scarce (p.xxxv).

On off-white chine appliqué on original firm wove backing sheet. Platemark strengthened at one side verso, various minor defects to sheet, otherwise generally good condition.