C. L. Drouet, Sculptor

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 35
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 226 x 152 mm
Signed: 'Whistler' at lower right, 'Whistler Maitre Eaufortier' at upper right
Inscribed: '1859.' at lower right; 'Drouet. Sculpteur.' at lower centre
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 73
Catalogues: K.55; M.55; T.55; W.53
Impressions taken from this plate  (73)


artist, beard, cancelled plate, clothing, dress, fashion, man, portrait, sculptor.


There are several versions of the title, some very short, and others more descriptive, as follows:

'Drouet Sculpteur' (1859, Whistler). 2
'Drouet' (1870s, Whistler). 3
'Portrait, "Mons. Drouet, sculptor"' (1874, Whistler). 4
'Portrait of Mons. Drouet, Sculptor' (1874, James Anderson Rose (1819-1890)). 5
'Drouet' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 6
'Portrait of Drouet, the Sculptor' (1893, Chicago). 7
'Drouet' (1897, Whistler). 8

Although in letters Whistler referred to this portrait merely as 'Drouet', the original title was longer, 'Drouet Sculpteur' or 'Portrait, "Mons. Drouet, sculptor" '. The use of English and French in various titles is inconsistent. 'Drouet, Sculpteur' reflects Whistler's original intentions, with added punctuation ('Drouet, Sculptor' would be the English equivalent).

2: Inscribed on the copper plate.

3: Written on Graphic with a link to impression #K0550101.

4: London Pall Mall 1874 (cat. no. 34).

5: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 477).

6: Wedmore 1886 A (cat. no. 53).

7: Chicago 1893 (cat. no. 2220).

8: Whistler to E.G. Kennedy, [21 May 1897], GUW #09767.


A three-quarter length portrait of a seated man with arms folded, facing toward the right. He has strong features, a long nose, piercing eyes under lowered brows, a short square beard and wild, wavy hair. There is shading in the background.


Charles L. Drouet (1836-1908). He 'sat twice for his etching - one day for two and a half hours, the next for one and a half'. 9
Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl [y038]
In 1897 Whistler took Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) to visit Drouet, describing him as 'a most extraordinary person! He is a sculptor ... a gourmet ... a most generous fellow, in a way, to his friends.' 10 Kennedy added:

9: Pennell 1921C, p. 93.

10: Note, 7 June 1897, GUW #09769.

'We had then just left the apartments of Drouet at 20 rue de Seine ... His head is now bald, but one can easily see the likeness in Whistler's portrait, made when he had a head well thatched with hair.' 11

Drouet bequeathed one impression of the drypoint to the Print Department of the Bibliothèque Nationale.

A later portrait of Drouet by Léon Augustin L'Hermitte, a charcoal drawing dated 1885, shows him with less hair. 12 Later still, an oil portrait by Jean Patricot (1865-1928) painted in 1904 showed Drouet as L'homme en blanc - perhaps in homage to Whistler's famous Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl [y038]. 13

11: Ibid.


This is a striking image, and perhaps the most dramatic of Whistler's portraits. The sculptor with his confrontational pose, lowered brows and wild hair, is a romantic figure. Lochnan suggested the influence of Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641): 'Whistler adopted a three-quarter pose and sidelong look which recalls Van Dyck's Lucas Vorsterman'. 14

14: Lochnan 1984, pp. 104-106. Etching, 1620; D.13; Rijksmuseum, RP-P-BI-7417 at (acc. 2012).