Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

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Portrait of Teresa Cerutti

Portrait of Teresa Cerutti probably dates from between 1897 and 1901.

At some time between 1897 and 1903, according to the sitter, Whistler painted two portraits of her in Paris in his studio at 86 rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, the first being 'a bust, full face, in city dress of dark violet, with Venetian lace covering the collar' for which she had two sittings. 1 However, it is highly unlikely it was painted as late as 1903 because by then Whistler was in poor health, and indeed was in London.

A cryptic letter, tentatively dated 1897/1900, from Whistler to Cerutti begs her to come to the studio 'parceque il n'est pas bien, et desire vous voir.' 2 This possibly helps to confirm Cerutti's story, at least to the extent of putting her in touch with Whistler, but no other evidence or portraits of her have been located.


1: Cerutti, Teresa, An Intimate View of James McNeill Whistler (t. s., n.d.), pp. 10-12, copy in GUL. Portrait dated 'about 1897/1903' in YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 508).

2: Cerutti, op. cit., letter quoted p. 18; [1897/1900], GUW #11014.

Last updated: 3rd April 2020 by Margaret