Sleeping Girl

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 127
Date: 1874/1875
Medium: drypoint
Size: 139 x 217 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left (2-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 9
Catalogues: K.125; M.122; W.112
Impressions taken from this plate  (9)


It was not published.


An impression was lent by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1250202). 10 Impressions were also exhibited by Obach & Co. in London and by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1903.

Others appeared in a number of exhibitions after Whistler's death, including the comprehensive Grolier Club exhibition in 1904 (where two impressions, one with and one without the butterfly, were shown). Another impression was lent by King Edward VII to the Whistler Memorial show in London in 1905. 11

10: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 101); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

11: New York 1903b (cat. no. 84); New York 1904a (cat. nos. 114 a, b); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 112).


It is possible that this was 'The Siesta / No. 4/3' sold by Whistler to Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) in 1877 for £6.6.0, 12 The price is quite high and suggests that Whistler thought highly of it. It could be another sleeping figure but it is not Weary [93] because that title was well established. Another impression was sold with the same title - 'The Siesta' - to Queen Victoria in 1877 for £6.6.0. 13 Certainly the Royal Collection included an impression of Sleeping Girl, which was exhibited in 1905 as 'A Child on a Couch' but it is still not entirely certain that it was the impression bought in 1877 as 'The Siesta' since there were other sleeping figure subjects in the Royal Collection. 14

12: 12 October- 5 November [1877], GUW #12735.

13: [19/22 October 1877], GUW #12736.

14: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 112).

Sales records that definitely apply to the Sleeping Girl start much later, in 1886. Whistler sold impressions under the title 'Sleeping Girl' to the London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) on 1 November 1886 and 17 May 1887 at £8.8.0. 15 One of these was almost certainly sold to Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891), and sent to auction after his death. It was bought at Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 156) for only £1.5.0 by Frederick Keppel (1845-1912), of F. Keppel & Co., New York, who sold it immediately to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) on 15 April (Graphic with a link to impression #K1250202). 16

15: GUW #13010, #13011.


Other early collectors included Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1250201); George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1250203); Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1250102); John Caldwell (fl. 1887-1907) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1250z03); Ralph King (1855-1926) and his wife (Graphic with a link to impression #K1250z02) and Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1240204).