Z. Astruc, Editor of 'L'Artiste'

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 36
Date: 1859
Medium: drypoint
Size: 230 x 154 mm
Signed: 'Whistler - ' at lower left
Inscribed: '1859.' at lower left
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 21
Catalogues: K.53; M.53; T.66; W.49
Impressions taken from this plate  (21)


art critic, dress, fashion, editor, head, journalist, man, painter, portrait, sculptor.


The name of the sitter, Zacharie Astruc (1833-1907), provides the basis for the title, but there are variations in the amount of information provided, as follows:

'Monsieur Astruc, Redacteur du Journal L'Artiste' (1860, R.A.). 1
'Astruc' (1863, Whistler). 2
'"Astruc" - Literateur' (1870s, Whistler). 3
'Astruc' (1877, Whistler). 4
'Astruc. Literateur' (1881, Union League Club). 5
'Astruc, a Literary Man' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 6
'Astruc' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 7
'Z. Astruc, Editor of 'L'Artiste' (2009, Whistler Etching Project).

'Z. Astruc, Editor of L'Artiste' identifies the portrait clearly, and is the preferred title.

In addition there is one incorrect title, 'Davis', recorded by Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876), which can be totally discounted: Thomas confused the etching with Mr Mann [73]. 8

1: London RA 1860.

2: Whistler to W. H. Carpenter, 3 August 1863, GUW #11109.

3: Written on Graphic with a link to impression #K0530101.

4: Whistler to C. A. Howell, 14-16 November [1877], GUW #13668.

5: New York 1881 (cat. no. 70).

6: Wedmore 1886 A (cat. no. 49).

7: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 53).

8: Thomas 1874 (cat. no. 66).


A quarter-length portrait of a man facing slightly to the right, looking directly at the viewer. He has thick, untidy, wavy hair leading down to a short round beard, and has a shaggy moustache. His right hand, possibly holding a pipe, is raised toward his face. He is wearing a light jacket over a shirt with the collar open, and a loosely tied cravat. There is shading in the background to right.


Zacharie Astruc (1833-1907). This is one of a series of portraits of Parisians in different professions, all of whom were friends of Whistler, including J. Becquet, Sculptor [62], C. L. Drouet, Sculptor [35] and Finette [61].

Astruc appears in Un atelier aux Batignolles, painted in 1870 by Whistler's closest friend in Paris, Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904). The studio group included Edouard Manet (1832-1883), Astruc, , Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) and , and . 9

painted a profile head of Astruc in 1861. 10 Joseph Auguste Bracquemond (1813-1914) etched a striking portrait of Astruc in the 1860s, reproduced below. 11
Comparative image
© Trustees of the British Museum.

9: Musée d'Orsay, RF 729.

10: Musée d'Orsay, RF 1950 36.

11: Béraldi 9.1, British Museum 1865,1209.684.

Edouard Manet (1832-1883) also painted Astruc's portrait (Kunsthalle Bremen), as did Bazille. 12 A photograph by Ferdinand Mulnier (fl. 1854-1890) shows him in 1892 - with less hair. 13

12: L'homme au cigare, Sotheby's, New York, 3 November 2010 (lot 138).

13: Musée d'Orsay, PHO 1983 165 510 10.