Au Sixième

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 3
Date: 1857
Medium: etching
Size: 108 x 77 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right
Inscribed: 'Au Sixième'
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.3; M.2; T.-
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)
Au Sixième probably dates from between January and early summer 1857, when Whistler proposed a joint etching venture to a group of English students in Paris, including Edward John Poynter (1836-1919), Thomas Reynolds Lamont (1826-1898), Thomas Armstrong (1832-1911), and George Du Maurier (1834-1896).
Armstrong described the occasion:
'Whistler took up etching in 1857, a process with which he was already familiar. He was very keen about it, and suggested that we all get plates and try our hands. It was decided that each should choose his own subject, and that prints from the plates should be sent to some literary person in England, and he should build up from them a story for publication to be called "Plawd", a word composed of the first letters of our names - Poynter, Lamont, Whistler, and Du Maurier ... Three of them were executed, Whistler's represented an interior.' 1

1: Lamont 1912, p. 146.

Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), wrote on one of the two surviving impressions of this print: 'Probably the first of Whistler's etchings.' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0030102) Likewise, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) thought that it was 'Doubtless done in Paris, and probably as early as 1857.' 2

2: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 2).