The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler

YMSM 006
The Fishwife

The Fishwife

Artist: James McNeill Whistler
Date: 1855
Collection: Private Collection
Accession Number: none
Medium: oil
Support: millboard
Size: 32.9 x 25.3 cm (13 x 10")
Signature: none
Inscription: none
Frame: unknown

Date

The Fishwife dates from about 1855.

The Fishwife, Private collection
The Fishwife, Private collection

It was probably executed in America, but it could date from after November 1855 when Whistler arrived in Paris. 1

Images

The Fishwife, Private collection
The Fishwife, Private collection

The Fishwife, photograph, ca 1950
The Fishwife, photograph, ca 1950

The Fishwife, photograph, ca 1980
The Fishwife, photograph, ca 1980

La Mère Gérard (1), Colby College Museum of Art
La Mère Gérard (1), Colby College Museum of Art

Subject

Titles

Only one title has been suggested:

Description

The Fishwife, Private collection
The Fishwife, Private collection

The head of an old woman smoking a clay pipe. Her face is flushed, she has grey hair under a yellow kerchief, and is wearing a red blouse. Her clay pipe is off-white. The background is dark brown. The portrait is an oval on a vertical, rectangular, piece of card.

Sitter

Not identified.

Technique

Composition

The Fishwife, Private collection
The Fishwife, Private collection

The Fishwife, Private collection
The Fishwife, Private collection

A pen drawing, The Fishwife m0212, about 130 mm diameter, is closely related to the oil.

La Mère Gérard (1), Colby College Museum of Art
La Mère Gérard (1), Colby College Museum of Art

The subject, and the treatment of the head, have clear links with several larger portraits: La Mère Gérard (1) y026, La Mère Gérard (2) y027 and Head of an Old Man Smoking y025.

Technique

Despite its small scale, the portrait is painted vigorously, with bright colours, and with very thick impasto, particularly on the face. It was painted in an ellipse within a rectangular card.

Conservation History

It was cleaned in 1950; it is very dark.

Frame

The Fishwife, Private collection
The Fishwife, Private collection

The Fishwife, photograph
The Fishwife, photograph

It is framed as an oval.

History

Provenance

The New York Herald on 15 June 1878 reported that Thomas Winans had bequeathed his art collection to his daughter Celeste Marguerite Winans.

Exhibitions

It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime.

Bibliography

Catalogues Raisonnés

Authored by Whistler

Catalogues 1855-1905

Journals 1855-1905

Monographs

Books on Whistler

Books, General

Catalogues 1906-Present

Journals 1906-Present

Websites

Unpublished

Other


Notes:

1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 6).

2: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 6).