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Resting by the Stove

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 372
Date: 1887
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 135 x 99 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.338; M.338
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


book, model, nude, reading, woman standing.


Variations in the title are as follows

'Resting, By the Stove' (1887/1888, Whistler). 1
'Resting - Studio' (1887/1890s, Whistler). 2
'Resting by the Stone' [sic!] (1900, Caxton Club). 3
'Resting in Studio' (1903, Obach's). 4
'Resting by the Stove' (1904, Grolier Club). 5
'Resting by the Stove' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 6

'Resting by the Stove' is the preferred title, derived from one of Whistler's titles, which has become the title most generally accepted..

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

2: Written on .

3: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. E240).

4: London Obach 1903 (cat. no. 249).

5: New York 1904a (cat. no. 336).

6: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 338).


Two young women pose nude except for scarves on their heads. They are seen from the back, the one at the left standing, the other seated on a stool, reading. Behind them is a stove-pipe (the stove itself is not visible).


The young models have not been identified, but may be two of the Pettigrew sisters, possibly Bessie Pettigrew (b. 1869) and Lilian Pettigrew (b. 1870). The family were definitely posing in the studio at this time (see, for instance, Baby Pettigrew 374) for prints and pastels.


One of several studio studies including The Japanese Dress 371, Little Nude Figure 330 and Model Stooping 362. The implication of the scene is that the models are resting by the warm stove between poses or before starting to pose for the artist. Thus it is an intimate image, both less openly sexual (because the models are seen from the back) but more voyeuristic (because it is implied that they are taken unawares). Whistler sometimes posed models with a book, implying their absorption in a cultural activity (see for instance, the lithograph The Novel: Girl Reading c032) and the etching The Japanese Dress 371.