Arthur Haden

Accession Number

Arthur Haden

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
drypoint on paper

15 1/16 x 10 1/4 in. (38.2 x 26 cm)

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
Arthur Haden
Drypoint on laid Japan tissue
Third state of three (Kennedy 61)
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1954/1.343
Some of Whistler’s most revealing and intimate portraits were of children, especially his nephew and niece, Annie and Arthur Haden. Seeking to capture the characteristics of his young relative, here Whistler shows Arthur sitting sideways, squirming in a chair. In addition to the delicate lines that describe the child’s face, he uses the rich blacks of drypoint to convey the sheen of his coat and patent leather shoes, exploiting to expressive effect the contrast between the lightness of the lines and the dark burr.
The drapery behind the figure, also seen in the portrait of Annie Haden, suggests that Whistler may have conceived the two as a pair.

Subject matter
Whistler was very fond of his sister's children and he depicted Annie and Arthur several times, including images of them in the French Set. This work has wonderful drypoint lines, employed most notably in the dark jacket he is wearing.

Physical Description
A young boy sits sideways on a chair and looks at the viewer. The chair faces the viewer; the boy sits facing to the right, his left leg crossed over the right. He his left hand is on the back of the chair, and his right hand holds his left foot. He has thick waving hair and is dressed in a short black velvet coat and striped pants. Behind him is a curtain and on the floor at lower right is a dark straw hat.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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chairs (furniture forms)

& Author Notes

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