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La Rétameuse

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 26
Date: 1858
Medium: etching
Size: 112 x 89 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right (2)
Inscribed: 'Imp. Delatre. Rue St. Jacques. 171.' at lower left (2)
Set/Publication: 'French Set', 1858
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 42
Catalogues: K.14; M.11; T.3; W.5
Impressions taken from this plate  (42)


This was done in pure etching. The cross-hatched shading in the background consists of elaborate squiggly and curving lines to right, some following the curves of the figure and hat, as well as broader zigzags to left; there are much smaller, short and delicate strokes on the face.


Few impressions of the first state of La Rétameuse have been located. One is a good impression in a slightly warm coloured black ink on ivory laid paper, possibly taken from a book (); another is in dark brown ink on 'modern' (post-1800) laid paper with a partial watermark (two joined semi-circles, ) and one on off-white wove paper ().
Over thirty impression of the second state have been located. These include impressions in black ink on chine collé - that is, China paper laid down on off-white wove - () and on good quality thick Japanese paper, kaya or bamboo (). Most are in black ink, and the range of colour of the 'chine' is considerable, from ivory () to tan (, ). In addition there are impressions in dark brown () and black () inks on a range of western papers including cream 'modern' laid paper and ivory wove ().