Bibi Lalouette

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 33
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 227 x 151 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right
Inscribed: '1859.' at lower right
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 69
Catalogues: K.51; M.51; T.30; W.30
Impressions taken from this plate  (69)


Bibi Lalouette was not published.


It was first exhibited in 1874 with the collection of James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) in a travelling show in Liverpool and elsewhere. 10 An impression owned by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) was lent to the Union League Club in New York in 1881 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510238), and Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) lent another to the show organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510203). 11

It was also for sale in print dealers' exhibitions, by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York (1898 and 1903), Obach & Co. in London (1904) and at F. Keppel & Co., again in New York, in 1904. 12 Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought impression of the first and second state from the 1898 Wunderlich show (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510102, Graphic with a link to impression #K0510205).

Impressions were shown in the Memorial exhibitions after Whistler's death. In 1904, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) lent to the Boston show, and Freer's two impressions were shown at the Grolier Club in New York. Impressions were also shown in Paris and London in 1905, the latter being lent from the Royal Collection. 13

10: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 478).

11: New York 1881 (cat. no. 29);Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 30).

12: New York 1898 (cat. no. 29). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

13: Boston 1904 (cat. no. 25); New York 1904a (cat. no. 32); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 30).


Percy Thomas (1846-1922) sold an impression (mis-catalogued originally as 'Valentine') to the British Museum on 13 July 1872 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510212). 14 Obviously the name was a serious problem to the linguistically challenged, and a visitor to the British Museum in 1876 described it as "Bibi l'Allouth". 15

An impression from the collection of George William Reid (1819-1887) was sold at auction in 1890 and was bought by F. Daniell, for £2.2.0. Two years later two 'trial proof[s], with two light sketches of heads' from the important collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) were bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) of Deprez & Gutekunst for £6.12.6 and £2.4.0 respectively. These were the highest prices recorded for this etching. 16 Hutchinson's second state then went to the Royal Collection and was sold in 1906 through Agnew's and Wunderlich's to Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913), eventually going to the Art Institute of Chicago (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510202).

Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) owned impressions of both states that were bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) from H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1898 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510102, Graphic with a link to impression #K0510205). Freer already had another, basically very similar, impression of the second state, bought from Wunderlich's in 1890 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510206).

On 6 July 1901 the dealer Ernst Arnold sold an impression to the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin for 120 M. (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510220). One was acquired in 1903 by the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510z23). Another, acquired by the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, in 1904, was destroyed in fire following a bombing raid forty years later (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510z11).

14: B.M. Register of Purchases ... 1872.

15: E.D. Wallace, 'The Fine Arts Abroad', Forney's Weekly Press, Philadelphia, 1 April 1876 in GUL PC1/75.

16: Sotheby's, 26 February 1890 (lot 478); Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lots 77, 78); see also Christie's, 17-20 and 22 February 1897 (lot 52).

Early collectors included George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510209); William Loring Andrews (1837-1927) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510240); Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510203, Graphic with a link to impression #K0510218), the latter also owned by Theodore de Witt (dates unknown) and Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971); Alfred Atmore Pope (1842-1913) and his daughter Theodate Pope (1867-1946) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510243); Hermann Heinrich Meier (1845-1905) and his wife (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510z17); Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510216); Herschel V. Jones (1861-1928) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510z15); Albert Henry Wiggin (1868-1951) for Boston Public Library (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510235); Edward de Turck Bechtel (1880-1957) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510z03); and Pauline Kohlsaat Palmer (1882-1956) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510244).
Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) gave impressions to the Whistler House Museum in Lowell (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510241) and the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo (Graphic with a link to impression #K0510z02). Keppel & Co. may have been involved in reprinting from the copper plate after it had left Whistler's hands, possibly in collaboration with Wunderlich & Co.