The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler

YMSM 436
The Daughter of the Concierge

The Daughter of the Concierge

Artist: James McNeill Whistler
Date: 1894/1895
Collection: Worcester Art Museum, MA
Accession Number: 1940.55
Medium: oil
Support: canvas
Size: 51.4 x 35.6 cm (20 1/4 x 14")
Signature: butterfly
Inscription: none
Frame: not original

Date

The Daughter of the Concierge probably dates from 1894 or 1895. 1

The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum
The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum

According to dealers' records, it was in Glasgow in 1894. 2 The technique and butterfly signature fits with this date.

The painter Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938) thought he remembered seeing a picture, possibly this, being painted in London by Whistler in the studio of Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) in 1895. 3

C. H. Sawyer commented :

'The Daughter of the Concierge is strongly reminiscent of [The Master Smith of Lyme Regis y450] and was probably painted in the early nineties. Its extremely gentle gradations of tone make it seem to the modern eye almost monochromatic and suggest the complete withdrawal of the artist into the domain of his own limited aesthetic.' 4

Images

The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum
The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum

The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, 1900
The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, 1900

The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, 1980
The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, 1980

Subject

Titles

Possible titles include:

'The Daughter of the Concierge' is the preferred title.

Description

The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum
The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum

A head and shoulders portrait of a girl in vertical format. She has brown eyes and thick brown hair, arranged in a large bun or roll on her head. She faces the viewer, wearing a dark high-necked dress, in front of a dark brown/khaki background. The lower part of the dress is unfinished.

Sitter

Not identified.

Technique

Technique

The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum
The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum

The composition has been outlined in crayon on the dark grey primed canvas, the paint brushed on rather dryly, except for the face, which was built up with soft, olive tints. The butterfly was painted with thin, fluid paint.

Conservation History

The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, 1900
The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, 1900

The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, 1980
The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, 1980

The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum
The Daughter of the Concierge, Worcester Art Museum

Unknown. There are some slight changes apparent between the image as seen in early photographs and now, particularly on and along her shoulder at right and round her neck; it appears to have darkened slightly. Some of these changes may just be the effect of the conditions when it was photographed.

Frame

The frame is not original.

History

Provenance

The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, Torrey & Vickery, 1900
The Daughter of the Concierge, photograph, Torrey & Vickery, 1900

According to art dealers' records, it was in Glasgow in 1894, and with the Glasgow art dealer Alexander Reid until 1900. It was bought from him by Vickery, Atkins & Torrey, San Francisco, in April 1900, for £400. 8

It was acquired by William S. Noyes, Oakland, in 1900, and lent by Mrs Noyes to an exhibition in San Francisco 1915 (cat. no. 279) as 'The Daughter of the Concierge'.

The painter Clara McChesney (who was originally from Oakland) owned it until January 1919 when it was bought by the Macbeth Galleries, New York, and exhibited by them New York 1919 (cat. no. 29). Macbeth sold it to Theodore T. Ellis on 18 February 1919 for $2500 or $5000. 9 He bequeathed it to the Worcester Art Museum in 1940 (Theodore T. and Mary G. Ellis Collection).

Exhibitions

It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime as far as is known.

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. 436).

2: Information from A. McN. Reid, 1963, GU WPP.

3: T. W. Dewing to W. Macbeth, 17 February 1919, photocopy, GU WPP.

4: Sawyer 1941 [more], at p. 47. The Master Smith was painted in 1895.

5: Scott 1903 [more], at p. 106.

6: Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915 (cat. no. 279).

7: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 436).

8: Information from A. McN. Reid, 1963, GUL WPP files.

9: The Worcester Museum and Macbeth Gallery records do not match entirely.