Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 12
Date: 1858
Medium: etching
Size: 163 x 109 mm
Signed: 'Whistler' at lower right (2-final)
Inscribed: 'Imp. Delatre. Rue St. Jacques, 171' at lower left (5)
Set/Publication: 'French Set', 1858
No. of States: 5
Known impressions: 75
Catalogues: K.13; M.15; T.12; W.18
Impressions taken from this plate  (75)


Published as 'Fumette' in Douze eaux-fortes d'après Nature (Twelve Etchings from Nature, the 'French Set') in 1858.


Fumette was first exhibited in Paris at the Salon in 1859, and in later exhibitions at The Hague (1863) and in Philadelphia (1879). 9

In 1874 it was selected for the travelling exhibition of the collection of James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), and by Whistler for his first one-man retrospective in London. 10

Private collectors submitted distinctive impressions to shows in New York and Chicago, including ones lent to the Union League Club by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) in 1881, which were described as 'Trial proof; only one' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130101), and one 'With added work and signed' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130201) and finally, 'The published state' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130433). 11 An impression was shown at the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1888, lent by Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924). 12 Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) also lent an impression to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club, Chicago, in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130402) 13

Print dealers in New York, particularly F. Keppel & Co. (1902) and H. Wunderlich & Co. (1898, 1903), held exhibitions of important groups of works for sale. For instance, two strong impressions originally owned by Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) were shown by Wunderlich's in 1898 and bought, with the advice of Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938), by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130302, Graphic with a link to impression #K0130403). Another from the same collection was bought by Avery (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130433). 14

9: Paris Salon 1859 (cat. no. 3674); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

10: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 512); London Pall Mall 1874 (cat. no. 7).

11: New York 1881 (cat. nos. 27, 28, 29).

12: Glasgow 1888 (cat. no. 2552-18)

13: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 18).

14: New York 1898 (cat. no. 17).

After Whistler's death, impressions were shown at the Memorial exhibitions at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, by the Copley Society in Boston, also in 1904, and in Paris in 1905. 15 Another impression was lent from the Royal Collection for the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 16

15: New York 1904a (cat. no. 19); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 13); Paris Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 299).

16: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 18).


In marketing the 'French Set' Whistler was helped by his family, including Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910). Thomas de Kay Winans (1820-1878) bought Whistler's etchings including Fumette (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130442) through Haden, to whom he wrote on 20 June 1859: 'I enclose two drafts on Liverpool amounting to £63 sterling and as requested by you, for the etchings - they arrived in good order and are considered very fine, doing Jemmy great credit'. 17

17: GUW #07079.

On 1 January 1861 Haden sold 16 prints to what was then the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) for £10.10.0, and in addition presented the museum with a complete 'French Set', as printed by Auguste Delâtre (1822-1907) including Fumette (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130419). 18

The first purchase of an impression of Fumette by the British Museum was in 1872 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130409). Early purchasers of impressions in the set as published included George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130z02), whose collection came finally to the Baltimore Museum of Art; William Loring Andrews (1837-1927), who gave one to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1883 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130440); and Henry F. Sewall (1816-1896) whose published impression (Graphic with a link to impression #K0130408) went to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, Harvey D. Parker Collection, in November 1897.

18: V&A, Register for Prints, p. 33.

Fumette was usually sold with the 'French Set' and few early individual sales by Whistler are recorded. The artist did, however, buy back an impression from Edmond Gosselin (1849-1917) in 1888 for 50 francs. 19

19: 26 December 1888, GUW #13076.

At auction, prices varied: impressions from the collection of Philippe Burty (1830-1890) sold at Sotheby's on 30 April 1876 (lots 741, 742) were bought by the London print dealers, Hogarth, for £2.12.0 for a 'first undescribed state with less work and without shading in background or printer's name at left' and by 'Riggall' for £1.5.0 for a similar impression on 'India paper.'
Two early proofs, a 'trial proof before the shading in the background' with 'another of the same, a fine impression of the usual state, on 1 mount' from the collection of John W. Wilson (dates unknown), were bought at Sotheby's in 1887 by Messrs Dowdeswell for £5.15.0, and another impression was bought by Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892) for £8.0.0. Prices were obviously very uneven. Another print, from the collection of George William Reid (1819-1887), sold in 1890 for only £1.5.0. 20

20: Sotheby's, 22 April 1887 (lot 176), 28 February 1890 (lot 476).

At the sale of a major collection, that of Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891), an early 'trial proof before the printer's address' was bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) for £0.12.0, and a later impression, from the published set, a 'trial proof with the address of Delâtre', sold for only £0.10.0. 21 Deprez paid a little more - £0.18.0 - for an impression 'on India paper' from the collection of William Drake (1817-1890) in 1892, and in the same sale, the identical price was paid by 'Vacher' for a 'second state, on Japanese paper'. 22

21: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lots 61, 62).

22: Christie's, 8-9 March 1892 (lots 323, 324).