Wild West: Indians

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 293
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 82 x 185 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 5
Catalogues: K.314; M.308; W.228
Impressions taken from this plate  (5)


Wild West: Indians was never published.


Either this or The Orator, Wild West Show [294] were shown at the Royal Society of British Artists when Whistler was President in 1887-1888. 12 It was then a very topical subject, the Wild West Show having been one of the most popular events of Queen Victoria's Jubilee year. This was the only time in Whistler's lifetime that it was shown in Britain. A journalist commented:

12: London RBA 1887-8 (cat. no. 528).

'Mr Whistler's latest studies with the etching needle divide themselves as to theme into four classes, one of them dealing with a pilastered house in Brussels, another with what Mr Whistler saw when he was a privileged spectator of her Majesty's fleet, a fourth with the arena of Buffalo Bill. Of all of these things there are vivacious and dexterous jottings.' 13

13: '"Black and White" Exhibition', Standard, London, 25 December 1887 (GUL PC9/47).

Impressions were exhibited by the print dealers H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, in 1898 and 1903 and also by Obach & Co. in London in 1903. One was lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900. 14

14: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 198). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

After Whistler's death impressions were shown in the comprehensive Memorial Exhibitions, at the Grolier Club, New York in 1904, and in London in 1905. 15

15: New York 1904a (cat. no. 239); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 228 ).


Whistler first sold an impression on 17 November 1887 to the London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832) for £6.6.0. 16 It was the cheapest impression of three Wild West subjects, Wild West: Indians, The Orator, Wild West Show [294] and The Bucking Horse, Wild West [295].

Whistler then sold an impression of Wild West: Indians on 3 May 1888 to Ross Revillon Winans (1850-1912), again for £6.6.0, through H. Wunderlich & Co. of New York. 17 He later sold one (under the title 'Buffalo Bill') in 1900 to Wunderlich's, still for £6.6.0. 18

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought the first proof, which had been handled originally by Wunderlich's (stock no. a 38207), from Frederick Keppel & Co. in New York in 1904 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3140102). Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) owned an impression, which was sold through A. A. Hahlo & Co., New York, to Harris G. Whittemore (d. ca 1937), and is now in Colby College, Maine.

16: GUW #13016.

17: G. Dieterlen to Whistler, GUW #07158.

18: Wunderlich's to Whistler, 6 April 1900, GUW #07322.