Charles L. Drouet, 1836-1908
Date of Birth: 6 May 1836
Charles L. Drouet was a French sculptor and collector.
Drouet was among the art students with whom Whistler became friendly in Paris from 1855 to 1859. His reminiscences of Whistler's life and artistic practice at this time informed much of Pennell's biographical material of this period. Whistler made a portrait of Drouet in etching and drypoint in 1859, C. L. Drouet, Sculptor 035. Drouet claimed that it had been done in just two sittings. It was singled out for praise when it was exhibited in 1874 at the Flemish Gallery, Pall Mall, Whistler's first one-man show. Whistler cancelled the plate in 1879 and in 1880 sold it to the Fine Art Society.
When Whistler was awarded the title of Officier de la Légion d'Honneur following the purchase of Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother y101 by the French government, Drouet held a dinner in his honour. In 1892 Drouet lent Whistler a Spanish costume perhaps for use in his Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian y378. In Paris in 1893 Drouet was amongst those who occasionally visited Whistler and his wife at 110 rue du Bac. They became more intimate following the death of Whistler's wife in 1896.
Drouet was the first owner of Whistler's Head of an Old Man Smoking y025, and it was lent by him for exhibition at the Whistler memorial show organised by Bénédite in Paris in 1905. At his death in 1908 Drouet bequeathed it to the Louvre.
Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; Lochnan, Katharine A., The Etchings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1984.