Marchande de Vin, Ajaccio was etched in Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica, where Whistler was convalescing from the end of January to April 1901.
' ... I sit here on a bench and stew - which is literally a fact, as if it were in July - and fret, which is also a fact, to think of all the work undone, and the comparative stagnation in which I seem to be floundering! ... immediately I have rushed off to do desperate work in some fiendish draught - and come home to bark in the night and begin all over again! - It is most discouraging - ... I suppose I must just hang on here and shut my eyes - for there are beautiful things in uncanny corners! -' 1
1: Whistler to R. B. Philip, 30 January 1901, GUW #04788.
Whistler complained repeatedly of difficulties in completing work. On 15 March he wrote:
'There seems to be no luck in the island here! and every thing I touch goes wrong! I think I had better try no more in the place - and get out of it directly I can - which is not so easy either! - The weather is very stormy - and has been for an age! - Really one is a prisoner - and the time that is going! Fancy that even a couple of etchings that should have been beauties - and might perhaps have slightly bettered the situation, went all to the dogs with Pennells varnishing! -.' 2
2: Whistler to R. B. Philip, [15 March 1901], GUW #04798.
And again on 3 April: 'It has stormed - and frozen & been terrible - and now today - it is simply amazing! 40 - degrees - out of doors in shade. / But what's the use! all this time lost as far as work goes! -' he wrote to his sister-in-law. 3 Thus there is a reference to etching unsuccessfully in March, but it is apparent from the surviving etchings that he actually made some successful etchings between March and April.
3: Whistler to R. B. Philip, [3 April 1901], GUW #04801.