Portrait of a man

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 73
Date: 1860
Medium: drypoint
Size: 229 x 154 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower left
Inscribed: '1860.'
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 30
Catalogues: K.63; M.63; T.72; W.58
Impressions taken from this plate  (30)


It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.


It was first exhibited with the collection of James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) in Liverpool and elsewhere in 1874, as 'Portrait of M. Mann'. 31 Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) lent his impression (reproduced below) to the Union League Club in New York in 1881 as 'Mr. Mann' where it was described as a 'Fine proof' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630101). 32
Impression: K0630101

31: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 483).

32: New York 1881 (cat. no. 81).

Subsequently impressions were seen at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and at international exhibitions in Buffalo in 1901 and Philadelphia in 1902. It also figured in a show by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 - when an impression was bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630204) - and in 1903. 33 Freer lent his impression, which was then called a 'trial proof', to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago, in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630204). 34
Impression: K0630204

33: New York 1898 (cat. no. 55); Chicago 1893 (cat. no. 2219); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

34: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 53).

After Whistler's death, impressions were exhibited in the large Memorial shows in the Grolier Club, New York and by the Copley Society in Boston, both in 1904. The Victoria & Albert Museum also lent an impression (which had been acquired from Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) in 1861) to the Whistler Memorial show in London in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630210). 35

35: New York 1904a (cat. no. 59); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 51); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 58).


A second state of what was called merely 'Portrait' was among the first group of Whistler's etchings to be sold to a public collection. It was among 16 etchings sold for a total of £10.10.10 by Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) to South Kensington Museum on 1 January 1861 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630210). 36 The British Museum bought another impression - reproduced below - in 1872 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630206).
Impression: K0630206

36: V&A Register of Prints, p. 32.

Whistler boasted to Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) in 1873: 'I have a proof of "the Man" for you'; it is not absolutely certain that he is referring to this print but Avery did receive a signed impression of Portrair of a Man (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630101). Whistler added:
'But since you left there has been a sale of several proofs of mine at Sothebys Auction rooms - ...- you see even at an auction the prices these proofs fetch and you cannot expect me to let you have them at lower rates ... If you will take two or three of them you shall have them at 7. guineas apiece - / I have three proofs of the Man - besides the one in the frame that I cannot yet find - They are the only ones the plate will give of fine quality in that state you shall have them all for 10. guineas -' 37

37: Whistler to S. P. Avery, [ca 7 July 1873], GUW #10628.

Another early collector was Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924); his impression of the second state bears the later collector's marks of Albert W. Scholle (1860-1917) and Charles C. Cunningham (1910-1979) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630z01). Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) complained to Whistler in 1890 that he did not have an impression; but eventually he acquired one (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630103). 38 An impression from the extensive collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) was sold at Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 109) and immediately bought by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) for £12.10.0. It was bought from Deprez & Gutekunst by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630203), who bought another, originally from the collection of Seymour Haden, in 1898 from H. Wunderlich & Co. (Graphic with a link to impression #K0630204).

38: 26 November 1890, GUW #03992.