Whistler with the White Lock

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 162
Date: 1876/1879
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 118 x 80 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 34
Catalogues: K.172; M.169; W.142
Impressions taken from this plate  (34)


It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.
H. Wunderlich & Co. printed an new edition of sixteen, priced at $15, in 1889.


Although this was a self-portrait of the artist, it was rare and rarely exhibited. Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) lent an impression, worked over in watercolour, to the Union League Club exhibition in 1881 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720114). Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) lent an impression to the show organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720121). 10

Impressions were also for sale in exhibitions by the print dealer H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 and (twice) in 1903. 11

After Whistler's death, impressions were shown at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and at the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 12

10: New York 1881 (cat. no. 151); Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 124). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

11: New York 1898 (cat. no. 121); New York 1903b (cat. no. 105).

12: New York 1904a (cat. no. 143); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 142).


The first sale may have been the one recorded as 'Nov 14. D P. Head' (that is, dry point head) sold by Whistler to Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) in 1877. 13

13: [6-25 November 1877], GUW #02178.

George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720104) and Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720114) were among early collectors, probably buying impressions in or after 1878. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought impressions from Wunderlich's of New York in 1891 and 1903 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720103, Graphic with a link to impression #K1720102). Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) owned one by 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720121).
Surviving impressions are often in the album of 'Cancelled Plates' as published in 1879. For instance, the British Museum bought an album in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720203), and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought a set from Knoedler & Co. in 1893 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720201). Thomas Glen Arthur (1858-1907) also acquired a set in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720208) which later went to Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Boston Public Library likewise acquired a set (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720205).
Prices were low but collectors and collections were keen to have the set of cancelled etchings, as a record of a substantial number of otherwise unrecorded etchings and drypoints. A set, probably acquired from the Fine Art Society by Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892), was auctioned in 1889 and bought by Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for £0.6.0. 14 Dunthorne exchanged it for other works with Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) who bequeathed it to the University of Glasgow (see Graphic with a link to impression #K1720202).

14: Sotheby's, London, 13 December 1889 (lot 787 or 789).

Collectors of impressions re-issued by H. Wunderlich & Co. included Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935), Walter Stanton Brewster (1872-1954) and Albert Eugene Gallatin (1882-1952). Other dealers such as Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) and the Anderson Galleries bought impressions, too. 15 Probably the most expensive impression of Whistler with the White Lock was the one sold by Knoedler & Co. in cooperation with Colnaghi’s to Margaret Selkirk Watson Parker (1867-1936) for $750 in 1913. An impression from the Wunderlich re-issue (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720108) and one from the plate as finally cancelled were bought from Wunderlich's by Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) and were given by him to the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (Graphic with a link to impression #K1720111).

15: Kennedy Ledgers, Colby College of Art.