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An Unfinished Sketch of Lady Haden

Accession Number
1973/1.735

Title
An Unfinished Sketch of Lady Haden

Artist(s)
James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1895

Medium & Support
lithograph with scraping on wove paper

Dimensions
15 15/16 in. x 10 9/16 in. ( 40.5 cm x 26.9 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of the Family of Albert Kahn: through Dr. Edgar A. Kahn; Mrs. Barnett Malbin; Mrs. Martin L. Butzel

Label copy
Unfinished Sketch of Lady Haden
1895
Lithograph with scraping
Second state of three (Way 143; Chicago 116)
Gift of the Family of Albert Kahn: through Dr. Edgar A. Kahn; Mrs. Barnett Malbin; Mrs. Martin L. Butzel, 1973/1.735
After the rupture with Seymour Haden in 1867, it proved difficult for Whistler and the rest of his family to maintain contact with his sister, Deborah, and the siblings often resorted to subterfuge, meeting at friends’ houses without her husband Seymour’s knowledge. Despite the perhaps ironically intended formality of describing his sister in the title to this print as Lady Haden (Haden was knighted in 1894 for his role in the etching revival), this is clearly a very private image, tenderly depicting Deborah at the age of sixty-nine.

Subject matter
The sitter is Whistler half-sister, Deborah Delano Haden, née Whistler, the wife of Whistler's early mentor and later nemesis, Francis Seymour Haden. In the early years of Whistler's association with Haden, Whistler frequently drew the Haden children, but after Whistler's rupture with Haden in 1867, Deborah was forbidden to see any of her family, many of whom resided in London. Whistler and his family were forced to resort to subterfuge in order to see Deborah. Haden received a knighthood in 1894; this tender portrait shows Whistler's sister at the age of 70.

Physical Description
An older woman is shown seated against an undifferentiated background. She has a dark hat on and is sitting facing towards the right, although her head, tilted on an angle, faces the viewer. Most of the figure is drawn with cursory attention, but the face is very delicately, fully modeled.

Primary Object Classification
Print

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
seated
sketches

& Author Notes

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