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The Model

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 248
Date: 1883/1885
Medium: mezzotint
Size: 253 x 178 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 4
Catalogues: K.346; M.344
Impressions taken from this plate  (4)


model, nude, nude seated, woman seated.


Whistler's original title is not known. The two variations on the title are as follows:

'The Model' (1900, Caxton Club). 5
'Little Model Seated' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 6

The title 'The Model', dating from Whistler's lifetime, though not necessarily used by him, is sufficient.

5: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. E253).

6: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 344).


The nude figure of a young woman seated, facing to the right, her right arm thrust backward, as if supporting her body, in deep shadow.


It is difficult to distinguish the model's features, and she has not been identified.
Hopkinson suggested it could be Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), Whistler's chief model and mistress between 1874 and 1888, although she is not known to have posed for any nude studies. 7

7: Hopkinson 1998[more], p. 400.

It is also possible that it was Bessie Pettigrew (b. 1869) or one of her sisters, although most known studies of the young women date from the later 1880s and early 1890s.


Etching: c_K346_01
T. Roussel, Embers Glow, colour etching & aquatint, private collection.
The subject is quite similar to two colour etchings by Théodore Roussel (1847-1926), Summer and Embers Glow (reproduced above), and the technique may share similarities with Roussel's tonal intaglio work from the 1890s. Both artists were drawing Bessie Pettigrew (b. 1869) at the time, and similar poses and studio props appear in their prints and in Whistler's drawings. 8

8: Margaret Dunwoody Hausberg, The Prints of Theodore Roussel: A Catalogue Raisonné, (M. Hausberg, 1991) cat. no. 146; (accessed 2011).