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Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 61
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 293 x 202 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower right (3); replaced with new 'Whistler.' at lower right (4-final)
Inscribed: '1859 -' at lower right (3); replaced with new '1859.' at lower right (4-final)
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 14
Known impressions: 38
Catalogues: K.58; M.58; T.56; W.54
Impressions taken from this plate  (38)


balcony, dancer, cape, cloak, clothing, dress, fashion, hat, interior, portrait, woman standing.


This drypoint is almost unique in having a consistent title, 'Finette', as in the following examples:

'Finette' (1870s, Whistler). 2
'Finette' (1874, Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876)). 3
'Finette – with a View of Paris from the Window' (1874, James Anderson Rose (1819-1890)). 4
'Finette' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 5
'Finette' (1887/1888, Whistler). 6

Whistler called this portrait by the model's stage name, 'Finette'. All published catalogues followed Whistler's example.

2: Written on .

3: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 56).

4: Liverpool 1874 (cat. no. 529).

5: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 54).

6: List, [August 1887/1888], GUW #13233.


A woman is standing to right of an open window, facing the viewer, but with her head slightly bent to the right, gazing downwards. She is wearing a silk domino, worn with a tight belt at the waist, over a dress with a crinoline. She wears a beret-style hat over the ringlets of her dark, glossy hair. The view through the curtained window shows the outlines of roofs and chimneys, and in the distance, a dome and two spires. The light comes from the window at left, casting shadows to right.
For a description of later additions, see STATES.


Etching: c_K058_02
Finette, photograph, 1860s,
Whistler Collection, Glasgow University Library, Special Collections.
Josephine Durwend alias Finette (fl. 1859-1867). Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896) listed the drypoint as 'Finette - The Creole - Dancer -' 7

7: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

She was described variously by Ralph Thomas, Jr (1840-1876) as a 'French lady', by Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921) as 'a plain woman' and Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) as 'a tall woman'. 8 Mansfield added: 'Mr. Wedmore says "Finette was a dancer. She was generally the companion of Alice la Provençale, or of Rigolboche, in a famous quadrille then in vogue."' 9

8: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 56); Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 54); Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no 58).

9: ibid.

Etching: c_K058_03
Finette, photograph, 1860s,
Whistler Collection, Glasgow University Library, Special Collections.
Her outfit was described by Thomas as 'a velvet dress', by Wedmore as 'a black velvet dress, black hat' with a 'gigantic crinoline', and Mansfield as 'a low round hat and velvet dress with flowing sleeves'. 10 In fact she was wearing a 'domino', a silk robe, over her dress, which was undoubtedly worn over a crinoline.

10: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 56); Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no 58).


The city of Paris, capital of France. Thomas commented, 'out of the window, Paris is seen.' 11 Wedmore added: 'In the furthest distance... is seen a glimpse of city landscape with a dome and two spires; perhaps the Dome of the Invalides and the spires of Ste. Clothilde.' 12

11: Thomas 1874[more] (cat. no. 56).

12: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 54).


Lochnan notes: 'The dark figure which dominates the picture space recalls Hollar's etching The Winter Habit of an English Gentlewoman, P.1999, which was in the [F. S.] Haden collection. The mask ... recalls the facial masks worn with winter costume in Hollar's prints ...' 13

Etching: c_K058_04

Wenceslaus Hollar, The large study of muffs and other finery
British Museum, 1868,0822.545
©Trustees of the British Museum.

The pile of letters, box, mask, feather fan, etcetera, on Finette's table are almost certainly also influenced by the elaborate still-life etchings of Wenceslaus Hollar, such as The large study of muffs and other finery, of 1647, reproduced above. 14

The silk 'domino' worn over Finette's dress, as well as the discarded mask, show that Finette had been at the Paris Carnival. The cigarette in her hand and smart bonnet help locate her in a fashionable milieu in contemporary Paris, where she was a well-known actress and dancer. 15

Wedmore described her as 'In the days of gigantic crinoline, a plain woman, in a black velvet dress,' and concerning his third state added, 'On the table lie, clearly defined, a mask, a fan, and an open box. I add, on Mr. Thibaudeau's authority, that the box contains billets doux.' 16 To this Cosmo Monkhouse objected that posterity had no interest in such opinions. 17

13: Lochnan 1984[more], pp.107-11.

14: R. Pennington, A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar, Cambridge, 1982; F. W. H. Hollstein, The New Hollstein: German engravings, etchings and woodcuts 1400-1700, Amsterdam, 1996.

15: MacDonald 2003[more], pp. 55-58.

16: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 54).

17: 'Whistler's Etchings: a Study and a catalogue by Frederick Wedmore (Thibaudeau)', The Academy, 10 February 1887, p. 136.

Lochnan sets this drypoint within the European portrait tradition, 'drawing on the tradition of sartorial splendour which he saw in Van Dyck, Hollar and Velasquez. The adaptation of the grand manner of portrait painting to the depiction of a ... can-can dancer was very much in keeping with the spirit of Courbet's realism.' 18 She also suggests the influence of John Everett Millais (1829-1896): 'The sentiment, narrative element, and even the long fibrous lines of the drypoint, may owe something to Millais's poignant wood-engraved illustrations such as A Lost Love , which appeared in Once A Week on November 16, 1859.' 19

18: Lochnan 1984[more], pp. 107-11.

19: ibid.