Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 93
Date: 1863
Medium: drypoint and roulette
Size: 199 x 132 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower left (4-final)
Inscribed: '63.' at lower left (4); date removed (5)
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 6
Known impressions: 35
Catalogues: K.92; M.92; T.71; W.83
Impressions taken from this plate  (35)


Weary was not published.


Weary was exhibited widely. It was first shown, shortly after it was completed, as 'Drypoint - Weary', at the Royal Academy in 1863. 21 F.G. Stephens was horrified to find that it had been 'skied': 'in the dismal Octagon Room' he wrote, 'are placed some of the exquisite dry-point productions of Mr. Whistler, whose fame the Royal Academy ignores by placing the marvellous plates that measure five inches by eight or so, at the top of the room, one (941) where the sun comes to ruin its delicacy, even if it could be seen at all'. 22 However, he wrote, later: 'they deserve noble places and will reward pains taken to obtain a sight of them. ... a drypoint, styled Weary, a lady resting back in her chair, has exquisite tone and "colour".' 23

It is possible that it was exhibited in 1874 at Whistler's first one-man exhibition, when a portrait was praised in the Builder: 'A "Portrait" of an apparently invalid lady of much beauty of countenance, leaning back in an easy chair, is exquisite in the delicate portrayal of the features and the contours of the bust and the figure.' 24

24: London Pall Mall 1874 (cat. no. 25); 'Mr Whistler's Etchings', The Builder, 5 July 1874 (in GUL PC1/73).

James Anderson Rose (1819-1890) amassed a large and representative collection of Whistler's early etchings. An impression of Weary was shown with his collection in a travelling exhibition in 1874. 25

25: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 486).

On 1 April 1878, at the end of a review of an exhibition of etchings by Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), at Messrs Hogarth's, the Daily News critic recommended visitors to see Whistler's Weary:
'It is worth while when leaving these visions of nature to ask to be allowed to see Mr. Whistler's most remarkable etching , ''Wearied ''[sic], where delicate shades of human feeling and faint lines of the face are drawn with a mastery like that which Velazquez might have exhibited in etching.' 26

Impressions were exhibited on both sides of the Atlantic: a 'Trial proof' was lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) to the Union League Club in New York in 1881 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920227). 27 An impression was lent by Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) to the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1888 (probably Graphic with a link to impression #K0920z01). 28 Another was shown by Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) in Liverpool in 1893 in a show of etchings and cancelled plates. The didactic element in some of these shows is apparent. For instance, at H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 two impressions were shown together, with the state described in the catalogue, one as 'Proof before the name and date' (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920104) and the second, 'Proof with the name and date'. 29

26: Daily News, 1 April 1878.

Collectors helped to promote Whistler's etchings by lending works from their collections. Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), for instance, included Weary in his selection for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920231). 30 Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) lent an impression to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club, Chicago, in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920222). 31 Impressions were also shown in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1902 - again lent by Mansfield - and by Wunderlich's in New York (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920104) and Obach & Co. in London in 1903. 32

Impressions were shown at the Memorial Exhibitions held after Whistler's death, at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904; in Boston, lent by Francis Bullard (1862-1913)) also in 1904; and in Paris and London in 1905, the latter lent by King Edward VII. 33

30: Mansfield to Whistler, 10 January 1893, GUW #04000.

31: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 78).


33: Boston 1904 (cat. no. 67); London Mem. 1905(cat. no. 83).


The British Museum bought an impression in 1874 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920205). In 1877 Whistler sold impressions to the Fine Art Society, London art dealers, to Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890), and to Queen Victoria for £5.5.0. The latter remained in the Royal Collection until it was shown at the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905, but was sold soon afterwards through Agnew's. 34

Surprisingly Whistler charged the same price - £5.5.0 - to Messrs Dowdeswell ten years later, but by 1889 had raised the price marginally to £6.6.0, which was the price also paid by Wunderlich's in 1890 and 1891. 35 About this time - 1890/1891 - Whistler recorded that he had only one impression still in stock.

34: 10 October 1877, GUW #12734; 12 October - 5 November [1877], #12735; [19/22 October 1877], #12736.

35: 28 April 1887, GUW #13020; 3 August 1889, #13092; Wunderlich's receipt, 3 and 28 April 1890, #13057; 6 April 1891, #13097.

One impression was recorded as sold by Whistler to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1902, but curiously, it does not actually seem to have arrived in Detroit, or if it did, it must have been disposed of later. 36 Freer's collection now includes three impressions of Weary, but his records show them as having been bought in September 1889 from Wunderlich's (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920204); 1898, from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), again through Wunderlich's (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920104) and 1905 from Thomas Way (1837-1915) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920203).

36: Whistler's stock list, [1890/1891], GUW #13236; Freer memo., [4 September 1902], #11701; FGA archives.

In addition to Whistler's 1863 signature on the plate, several impressions of Weary were signed in graphite pencil by the artist. These signatures were probably added when the impressions were sold rather than when they were printed. One, for instance, is signed with Whistler's name and an early (1872) butterfly (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920210); others, with a butterfly of ca 1880 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920203), of 1887/1889 (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920z01), and from the 1890s (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920222).
When auctioned at Sotheby's on 22 April 1887 (lot 201) a 'very brilliant early impression' from the collection of John W. Wilson (dates unknown), fetched the very high price of £15.15.0, and was bought by another London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832). This impression, which is indeed 'very brilliant', was apparently signed by Whistler with a pencil butterfly at that date, possibly at McLean's request, or for Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924), a later owner (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920z01). MacGeorge also owned both the drawings for this drypoint (The Sleeper [m0309], The Sleeper [m0309]), which he had bought at Christie's on 5 May 1891 at the sale of the collection of James Anderson Rose (1819-1890). Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) bought an impression from the collection of the late Mrs Edward Fisher at Christie's 13-14 July 1897 (lot 189) for £5.10.0., which was a little less than Wunderlich's were paying Whistler a few years earlier.
Early states of this drypoint were more valued than later ones. A 'first state' from the collection of Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) was bought at auction by Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) in 1892 for £12.0.0 while Hutchinson's less 'special' second state went to Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. for only £1.0.0. 37

37: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lots 134, 135).

Early collectors included Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920101, Graphic with a link to impression #K0920227); James Guthrie Orchar (1825-1888) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920z02); Henry Francis Herbert Thompson (1859-1944) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920102); Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920224); Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920231); William Loring Andrews (1837-1927) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920207); Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920221); Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920222); John W. Wilson (dates unknown) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920z01) and Albert W. Scholle (1860-1917) (Graphic with a link to impression #K0920z06).