Copy after Schnetz's 'Les Adieux du consul Boëtius à sa famille' dates from 1857. 1
On 7 April 1857 Whistler, then living at the rue Poupée in Paris, wrote to Comte Alfred Émilien O'Hara van Nieuwerkerke (1811-1892), Directeur des Musées, requesting permission to copy a picture in the Musée du Luxembourg by Jean-Victor Schnetz (1787-1870) 'representant un Prisonier [sic] faisant ses Adieux à sa famille.' 2
Whistler later (on 6 August 1900) told the Pennells that when he was first studying in Paris he was given a commission from Captain Williams of Stonington, Conn., 'to copy as many pictures as I chose for twenty-five dollars a piece, and I copied a picture … of a woman holding up a child toward a barred window and a man seen looking through the bars.' 3
Although in 1900 Whistler could not remember the name of the artist whose picture he copied in 1857, his description of the original was fairly accurate. Jean Victor Schnetz's Les Adieux du consul Boëtius à sa famille (310 x 260; Musée des Augustins, Toulouse) was commissioned as a decoration for the rooms of the Conseil d'Etat in the Louvre. It was painted in 1826 and shown at the Salon of 1827. It entered the Musée du Luxembourg from 1836, until about 1860, and from 1874 until it was transferred to the Louvre in 1878. Following an arrêté ministériel of 19 November 1885, it was deposited in the museum at Toulouse in 1886. 4 Thus it was at the Musée du Luxembourg when copied by Whistler.
Last updated: 21st November 2019 by Margaret