Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 60
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 153 x 230 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower left
Inscribed: '1859.' at lower left
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 27
Catalogues: K.59; M.59; T.27; W.56
Impressions taken from this plate  (27)


Venus was not published.


Surprisingly little known, it was exhibited mostly by print dealers - by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 and 1903, and by Obach & Co. in London in 1903. 12 An impression was also shown in the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 13

Why was it so little shown: was it thought to be improper? Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921) disapproved of the subject and treatment, and described this etching as 'the nude seen by Mr Whistler with rather common eyes, for once - an animal, whom sleep has overcome.' 14 The critic's view may have influenced exhibiting societies, thought it clearly did not have much influence on later collectors and dealers.

12: New York 1898 (cat. no. 53); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

13: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 56).

14: Wedmore 1886 A (cat. no. 56).


The earliest dateable sale was the purchase of an impression by the British Museum from Percy Thomas (1846-1922) on 13 July 1872 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590107). This was an impression of the first state; the Museum acquired a second state in 1903 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590207).
At the sale of the collection of Joseph Fioupou (1814-1884) at the Hotel Drouot, Paris, 31 March 1884 (lot 285) 'Figure de femme penchée' described as 'Epreuve avec les traveaux à la pointe sèche très apparents, sur japon' (proof with conspicuous drypoint work) was bought by Edmond Gosselin (1849-1917) for 17 fr.
At the sale of the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) at Sotheby’s, 3 March 1892 (lots 106, 107) an 'early proof, full of burr, on Japanese paper', and a second, similar, impression, were bought by 'Barr' for quite low prices, £0.12.0 and £0.9.0 respectively.
Collectors included Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), sold through Wunderlich's to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590203); Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590108); Jules Gerbeau (d. 1906) and Otto Gerstenberg (1848-1935) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590z01); Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924), whose impression was sold through H. Wunderlich & Co. for $250 in 1903, and later bought by Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590102); Charles Deering (1852-1927) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590202); Guy John Fenton Knowles (1879-1959) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590205); and Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0590103, Graphic with a link to impression #K0590104).