Portrait of E. G. Kennedy (1) dates from 1893. 1
On 12 April 1893, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), New York dealer, hinted that Whistler might paint his portrait, and he wrote again on 10 June saying he would be available from 24 June. 2 According to the Pennells, in the summer of 1893,
'One Sunday, Mr. E. G. Kennedy's portrait was painted in the garden [at 110 rue du Bac] on a very small canvas or a panel . . . He worked away all afternoon .. If Kennedy shifted - there were no rests - Whistler would scream, and he worked on, and on, and the sun went down . . . a paint rag came out- and, with one fierce dash, it was all rubbed off; "Oh, well", was all he said.' 3
This implies that the portrait was destroyed but that is not certain, for on 9 July Kennedy wrote asking Whistler if he could take 'the picture' back:
'Can I take the picture back with me?
I shall keep it at home, occasionally under the influence of rain, if you so decree.
I hope to bring it over next year, and make marks on the garden seats while posing for the uncompleted picture - that is if you care to take it up again. It promises well & might be an interesting work.' 4
Although Whistler agreed, it is not clear what happened after that: it may have been destroyed after all. Instead a small portrait of Kennedy in a standing pose was continued the following year: see Portrait of E. G. Kennedy (2) [YMSM 404].
Last updated: 1st January 2021 by Margaret