Little Salute

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 210
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: drypoint
Size: 82 x 210 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right (3)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 10
Catalogues: K.220; M.217; W.190
Impressions taken from this plate  (10)


Little Salute was not published.


It was first exhibited at the Fine Art Society, London in 1883 and in the reprise of the same show held by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in the same year. In the F.A.S. catalogue designed by Whistler for the show he added short excerpts from earlier reviews that provided ironical contrasts or complements to the prints on show. For this drypoint he selected an unidentified press-cutting, to which he added italics:

'As for the lucubrations of Mr. Whistler, they come like shadows and will so depart, and it is unnecessary to disquiet one's self about them.' 5

5: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 16).

This was a risky strategy. The art critic of the Saturday Review, for instance, merely agreed 'as far as this specimen is concerned we agree with the quotation.' 6 The Queen found it 'very slight' and compared it with Long Lagoon [215] which was considered 'also slight, but cleverly suggestive' 7

There were very few exhibitions thereafter. Print dealers' shows included those by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1883 and 1903, Obach & Co. in London in 1903 and Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. in New York in 1904. 8 Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) lent his impression to an exhibition held at the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2200203). 9

Others were shown after Whistler's death, two in the comprehensive show at the Grolier Club in 1904; one, lent by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), in the Whistler Memorial exhibition in Boston in 1904 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2200206), and another, lent by Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) in London in 1905. 10

6: 'Mr Whistler's Exhibition', Saturday Review, 24 February 1883 (GUL PC 25/32).

7: 'An Arrangement in White and Yellow', The Queen, 24 February 1883 (GUL PC 25/24).


9: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 170).

10: New York 1904a (cat. nos. 192, 192b); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 148); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 190).


The title and subject of Little Salute are so similar to other etchings that it is hard to follow sales records. However, Whistler sold an impression 28 August 1882 to the London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832), for £ 4.4.0. 11 He also sold an impression on 23 June 1884 to the Fine Art Society for £4.4.0, and on 18 April 1893 for £6.6.0. 12 He sold several in 1887 to Messrs Dowdeswell for £5.5.0. 13 And - the price creeping up - one on 21 December 1887 to McLean again, for £6.6.0. 14

Other collectors included Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), who owned the first state (Graphic with a link to impression #K2200101). Later states were acquired by Pauline Kohlsaat Palmer (1882-1956) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2200210), Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2200204), Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2200203) and Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2200202). The latter was sold at auction in 1892 after Hutchinson's death and bought by Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. for only £ 1.6.0 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2200202); eventually Robert Forsyth bequeathed it to the Art Institute of Chicago. 15

11: GUW #13643.

12: FAS to Whistler, GUW #01175; GUW #01259.

13: 28 April 1887, GUW #13020; 27 July 1887, #13024.

14: GUW #13017.

15: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 284).