BIBI LALOUETTE

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
BIBI LALOUETTE
drypoint
1859

An original James Abbott McNeill Whistler drypoint print.

1859

Original drypoint printed in black ink on laid paper bearing the Pro Patria watermark.

Signed and dated in the plate lower right Whistler 1859.

A brilliant, richly printed impression of Kennedy’s second and final state, printed after the addition of the horizontal lines to the left and right of the figure, showing touches of burr on the hair, face, garment and hat, and rich plate tone at the lower portion of the plate.

Catalog: Kennedy 51 ii/ii; Mansfield 51; Grolier Club 32; Wedmore 30

8 7/8 x 5 15/16 inches

Sheet Size: 11 3/16 x 8 inches

Nine of the twelve etchings which Whistler made in Paris during the autumn of 1859 were portraits of the artist or his friends.  This was the first time that he had devoted himself seriously to portraiture in printmaking with the intention of bringing out the personality of his sitters.
One of his first two drypoints was “Bibi Lalouette,” depicting the child of a restaurant owner who gave Whistler a line of credit.  In its delicacy of handling, this portrait stands in startling contrast to Whistler’s Thames etchings.  It can be safely concluded that by October of 1859, Whistler was capable of any type of linear expression, whether crude or refined, which he chose to employ, and that he matched the character of his line to his subject.

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