La Vieille aux Loques

Accession Number

La Vieille aux Loques

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
etching, printed in black ink on Japan paper, laid down on white wove plate paper

12 15/16 in. x 9 5/8 in. ( 32.9 cm x 24.5 cm )

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
La Vieille aux Loques, from the French Set, or Twelve Etchings from Nature
Etching on Japan paper
Second state of three (Kennedy 21)
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1954/1.327
When Whistler returned from Alsace and Cologne, he also returned to etched views of humble work and everyday life. La Vieille aux Loques, which was drawn directly on the plate from life, depicts a rag picker seated just inside her door, silhouetted against a dark interior.

Subject matter
The images of Whistler's French Set reflect the artistic trends current in Paris when Whistler was a student there. "La Vieille aux Loques", with its concern for working class figures, demonstrates Whistler's early orientation towards the work of Courbet. Throughout his career, Whistler mantained an interest in depicting working class and humble subjects; however, the beauty of his depictions elevated such works beyond the gritty realism of early works such as this etching.

Physical Description
An old woman in a white cap sits in a cluttered interior. Positioned just inside the doorway, the woman is surrounded by piles of cloth with domestic objects on shelves and walls that gleam in the darkness.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Collection Area

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interior views
vessels (containers)
women (female humans)
working class

2 Related Resources

Work and Workers
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
Social realism, mid-19th century to mid-20th century
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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