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Bébés, Jardin du Luxembourg

Impression: Private collection
Private collection
Number: 463
Date: 1892/1894
Medium: etching
Size: 177 x 128 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.428; M.420
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


baby, children, dress, garden, nurse, park, tree, woman seated.


Variations on the title are as follows:

'Bébés, Luxembourg ' (1890s, Whistler). 2
'Jardins de Luxembourg' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 3
'Jardin du Luxembourg' (1905, ISSPG). 4
'Bébés, Luxembourg Gardens' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 5
'Bébés, Jardin du Luxembourg' (2011, WEP).

The mixture of French and English in Mansfield's title is confusing. 'Bébés, Jardin du Luxembourg' is correct in French, and is the preferred title. It would be 'Babies, Luxembourg Gardens', in English.

2: Written on an impression, according to Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 420).

3: .Kennedy 1902 (cat. no. 313).

4: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 313).

5: Mansfield 1909 op. cit.


On a bench in the foreground are two women, in front of whom a child is seated on a chair. At a little distance a woman is standing, and beyond her is a woman bending over. At the right, two women, with a child in front of them, are seated near a box in which a tree is growing. Farther away are other women and children and numerous boxes with trees, and in the background is a mass of foliage behind a balustrade.


Comparative image
Nursemaids: 'Les Bonnes du Luxembourg' [c081], lithograph, 1893,
The Hunterian, University of Glasgow (49322)
Jardins du Luxembourg, Paris, France. It is one of several etchings of the gardens, including Under the Statue, Luxembourg Gardens [464], The Band, Luxembourg Gardens [466], Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens [443], The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 [444], Balustrade, Luxembourg Gardens [465], The Pantheon from the Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens [473] and Polichinelle, Jardin du Luxembourg [467]. In viewpoint, subject and concept it is close to a lithograph, Nursemaids: 'Les Bonnes du Luxembourg' [c081].


It seems extraordinary that this etching, full of lively figures and exquisite detail, should be so rare. There could have been an accident with the copper plate, or it was lost, or perhaps it was a special commission (though no documents have suggested this) or perhaps it was among etchings closely associated with Whistler's life in Paris with Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896), and was not printed after her death.