Only one title has been suggested:
It is not known which group in Couture's painting was copied by Whistler: it is an enormous painting (472 × 772 cm) with over thirty figures, including nude or half-draped men and women, all either drunk or caressing each other, except for a couple of men looking on disapprovingly at right, and a few serious statues standing between the Corinthian pillars of the open loggia.
Pamela Robertson comments:
'Though Whistler did not meet Manet till 1861, there were connections beforehand. Manet had been a pupil of Couture from 1850 to 1856; Whistler copied part of Couture’s celebrated Romains de la Décadence of 1847. In 1852 Manet copied Boucher’s Diane au Bain, which Whistler subsequently copied. Both artists copied Velasquez’s La Réunion des Cavaliers ... Manet in 1859-1860.' 2
According to the catalogue, this was a signed oil, 20 x 16 inches, painted during Whistler's early days in Paris (1855-59), after one of the twenty-seven sketches of heads that Couture had made in preparation for Les Enrôlements des volontaires de 1792, which was commissioned by Louis Napoleon in 1848. Couture's original sketch is now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. The whereabouts of the copy is unknown; from a photograph, the compilers doubt the attribution.
Last updated: 5th June 2021 by Margaret