Mairie, Loches

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 413
Date: 1888
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 220 x 130 mm
Signed: butterfly at right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 12
Catalogues: K.382; M.382; W.259
Impressions taken from this plate  (12)


Mairie, Loches was never published. However, it is definitely part of Whistler's unpublished 'Renaissance Set'.


Whistler obviously thought highly of this etching and it was widely exhibited. It was shown in three international exhibitions - in Paris in 1889, in Brussels in 1890, and at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, in the panel organised by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), to which it was lent by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919). This was a fine, delicate impression, which was inscribed 'Chosen proof.' by Whistler (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820302, reproduced below). 10

Impression: K3820302

Freer lent his print again to another Chicago exhibition, which was organised by the Caxton Club in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820302). 11 Mansfield lent his own impression (which was inscribed 'Very fine Proof.' by Whistler) to the annual exhibition in Philadelphia in 1902 and to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in Boston in 1904 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820307). 12

Impressions were also shown in other Memorial shows: two impressions were shown at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, one in London, lent by the Board of Education (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820306), and one in Paris in 1905. 13

10: Paris Exp. Univ. 1889 (cat. no. 419); Brussels 1890 (cat. no. 1051); Chicago 1893 (cat. no. 2258 [1678]). See REFERENCES : EXHIBITIONS.

11: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. E225).

12: Philadelphia 1902 (cat. no. 947 [259]); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 186).

13: New York 1904a (cat. nos. 279, 279B); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 259); Paris Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 409).


The price of Mairie, Loches was apparently set by Whistler at £12.12.0. He sold several impressions to print dealers in London; the first sale was on 10 December 1888 to Messrs Dowdeswell, followed by the Fine Art Society on 27 March 1889 and on 21 May 1889. 14 In the 21 May list for the F.A.S, 'Marie Loches' was number 2. '2' is written on a later state, which is also inscribed 'Chosen proof.', and which was bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820302).'2' was also written on another impression of the first state, but it is not certain where and when this was sold (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820102). It is not possible to tell whether the number written on the print relates to its sale to a particular dealer or the printing of the etching.

14: GUW #13029; Whistler to E.G. Brown, GUW #13000, #13001.

Whistler was also selling to the New York print dealers: on 16 April 1889 he sold 18 etchings to H. Wunderlich & Co. 15 'Marie - Loches' is number 9 in the list, and the 'No 9.' is written on an impression of the third state, which was also inscribed by Whistler, 'Very fine Proof.' and was bought by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820307). Similarly, one impression of the second state is inscribed '(No 1)' (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820203), and was probably the impression that appears first in a list of 18 etchings sold to Roland F. Knoedler (1856-1932) of Knoedler & Co. on 20 July 1889. 16

15: GUW #13055.

16: GUW #13660.

Whistler sold others direct to collectors: on 20 January 1889 to John Postle Heseltine (1843-1929), to Charles John Knowles (1840-1900) on 17 February 1889 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820202), and on 14 June 1889 to Samuel Joshua (1833 or 1834 - d. 1907). 17 John Charles Sigismund Day (1826-1908) was among early collectors (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820204), but whether he was buying from Whistler or a dealer is unknown. Henry James (1843-1916) asked Whistler for an impression of The Hangman's House, Tours [393], but because it was 'not yet properly printed', on 17 February 1889 Whistler gave him a 'proof' of Mairie, Loches. 18 James replied:

17: GUW #13037, #13050, #13036.

18: GUW #10934.

'I take your present of the beautiful etching of the dear old house at the dear old Loches as a most benevolent & graceful act. It is a charming thing with a charming association, or, rather, with many more than one: since I hold it directly from your cunning & liberal hand, with the soft participation, too, as I fondly fancy, of Mrs. Whistler's sympathy. It ... is already swinging in glass on a poorly-populated wall, where a liberal space has been made for it, & where it is quite the fair high aristocrat of the collection. How much more cachet I now feel that I have!' 19

19: 18 February [1889], GUW #02403; see Ailsa Boyd, '"Something vibrates back": Whistler and Henry James', in E.Hermens, J.Meacock and G.Petri (eds.), CONNECTING WHISTLER: ..., Glasgow, 2010, pp. 62-68 at media/media_182035_en.pdf

Whistler gave away another impression, as a 'little Souvenir', to E. M. Underdown, Q.C., for his speech at a dinner given in Whistler's honour at the Criterion on 1 May 1889 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820305).
He sold one impression on 2 July 1890 direct to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A), which they lent to the Whistler Memorial show in London in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820306). 20 In the following year, on 21 January 1891 Whistler sold an impression to Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) of Deprez & Gutekunst at the usual price of £12.12.0. 21 By contrast, an impression was sold at auction from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) at Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 338) and bought by Deprez for only £4.0.0.

Finally Whistler sold an impression in 1899 to Wunderlich's of New York, and with their discount this came to £10.10.0. 22 Wunderlich's are known to have handled impressions owned by Miss Louise Veltin (dates unknown) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820102) and by Harris G. Whittemore (d. ca 1937) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820103) but whether they bought directly from Wunderlich's is not known.

Other early collectors include John Charles Sigismund Day (1826-1908), in England (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820204) ; and Thomas Jefferson Coolidge jr (1863-1912) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820101) and Robert Forsyth (fl. 1927) (Graphic with a link to impression #K3820303) in America.

20: GUW #13044.

21: 21 January-27 June 1891, GUW #13070.

22: Wunderlich's to Whistler, 24 March 1899, GUW #07305.