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Old Women

Impression: Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore Museum of Art
Number: 234
Date: 1880
Medium: drypoint
Size: 128 x 204 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left (2-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 3
Known impressions: 5
Catalogues: K.224; M.221; W.195
Impressions taken from this plate  (5)


The plate was executed in pure drypoint.
Etching: K2240102
One impression of the second state (, illustrated above) is extensively worked over in wash, possibly indicating future additions that were not completely carried out.


The first two proofs were inscribed by Whistler. The first was printed in black ink on cream laid paper (), the second in dark brown ink on uneven, heavy-weight wove paper, now darkened to buff (). The first was trimmed to the platemark and signed with Whistler's butterfly and 'imp.' and inscribed '1st proof.' on a tab: this was almost certainly trimmed, signed and insribed about 1886. The second 'proof' was not trimmed, and was signed with a butterfly and inscribed 'imp. 2nd Proof - ' in the margin about 1880. These were almost certainly printed in 1879 or 1880.
One early proof in black ink on ivory laid paper with a partial watermark 'er', possibly VAN GELDER, was worked on extensively in wash (, see above). It appears that Whistler was not quite sure how to get the best effect from this plate, and therefore varied the ink and paper. Two impressions are on wove paper, one in dark brown ink on a cream medium-weight machine wove, trimmed and signed on a tab (); the other in black ink on ivory paper (), not trimmed, and signed about 1886/1887. The only recorded impression of the third state, which has not been located, also appears to have been trimmed and signed on the tab about 1886. Its is possible these were printed later but they may merely have been signed and sold later.