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Between and Mortarboard


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Fumette, One of the 'Twelve Etchings from Nature,' or the 'French Set'

Accession Number
1954/1.320

Title
Fumette, One of the 'Twelve Etchings from Nature,' or the 'French Set'

Artist(s)
James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1858

Medium & Support
etching and drypoint on Japan paper, laid down on white wove plate paper

Dimensions
12 13/16 in x 9 13/16 in (32.54 cm x 24.92 cm)

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
Fumette, from the French Set, or Twelve Etchings from Nature
1858
Etching and drypoint on Japan paper
Fourth state of four (Kennedy 13)
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1954/1.320
Whistler’s portrait of Eloise, a grisette, or working class woman known as La Fumette, is characteristic of the artist’s unsentimental portrayals of average people in the Latin Quarter during his bohemian days in Paris. Fumette, a dressmaker, was also Whistler’s mistress, with whom he reportedly lived “together in misery, for two years.” She was prone to violent outbursts of temper and during one such jealous fury she destroyed a large number of Whistler’s drawings. In this small, richly observed etching, Whistler has captured not only Fumette’s volatile temperament and wary glance, but also the sense of her sitting in bright sunlight.

Subject matter
During Whistler's years as a student in Paris, he lived a bohemian life on the Left Bank with Eloise (also described as Heloise), a seamstress with a volatile temper, nicknamed "the tigress", pictured here.

Physical Description
A young woman is seated in bright sunlight on a step or stoop, leaning slightly forward. The light source is to the right, causing deep shadows to fall on the right side of her face. Her arms are folded over the dark fabric in her lap and she holds a cigarette in her right hand.

Primary Object Classification
Print

Collection Area
Western

Rights
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Keywords
seated
smoking (activity)
women (female humans)

& Author Notes

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