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Portrait of Whistler

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 5
Date: 1857
Medium: etching
Size: 118 x 80 mm
Signed: 'J. W.' at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 3
Catalogues: K.7; M.9; T.-; W.1
Impressions taken from this plate  (3)


Portrait of Whistler was not published.


One impression was lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) to the Union League Club in New York in 1881 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0070101). It was exhibited beside Annie Haden, with books (Graphic with a link to impression #K0080101) with the comment, in the catalogue, 'The only impressions known of these two plates, which are earlier than 1858'; this was correct in respect to Annie Haden, with books, but not with regard to the self-portrait, since three impressions are known. 11

H. Wunderlich & Co. of New York exhibited this rare etching in 1898. One impression was lent by Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) to the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. 12 A few years later, in 1900, Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) lent both an untrimmed (Graphic with a link to impression #K0070102) and a trimmed impression (Graphic with a link to impression #K0070103) to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club, also in Chicago. 13 After Whistler's death, an impression was shown in the Grolier Club in New York in 1904 and in the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 14

11: New York 1881 (cat. nos. 1, 2); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS

12: New York 1898 (cat. no. 1); Chicago 1893 (cat. no. 2224).

13: Chicago 1900 (cat. nos. 1, 1a).

14: New York 1904a (cat. no. 1); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 1).


Philippe Burty (1830-1890), owned one of the three known impressions, which was bought from his sale by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904). Avery showed it to Whistler, possibly about 1873, when the artist signed and annotated it, and eventually it went with his collection to form a basis for the New York Public Library Print Collection (Graphic with a link to impression #K0070101).
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), bought the only other two known impressions of this rare etching in 1898, when he acquired the entire collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) from H. Wunderlich & Co. (Graphic with a link to impression #K0070102, Graphic with a link to impression #K0070103).