Becquet – Pre-publication proof
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Becquet, 1859, etching, printed in black on very thin Japan paper (the sheet has various condition problems and is laid down on wove paper). References: Glasgow 62, fourth state (of 6; this impression is pictured in the Glasgow catalogue for the fourth state), Kennedy 52, second state (of four); Lochnan 55, 9 ¾ x 7 ½, the sheet 10 ½ x 8 inches.
Knoedler & Co., New York (their stock no. in pencil on the verso MK31679)
An early impression of this print. This proof precedes those published in the Thames Set (the first printing of this Set was in the fifth state, a later printing in the 1870’s in the sixth state. In states after the fourth the foul biting at the bottom of the plate was cleaned.
Whistler titled the plate The Fiddler when he published it as part of the Thames Set in 1871. It is one of the two non-Thames subjects included in the set (the other is The Forge, Kennedy 68). The print shows the French sculptor and musician Just Becquet
(1829–1907), a friend of the artist who, according to Joseph Pennell’s Whistler Journal, lived in his studio among “disorder and his cello” (quoted after Lochnan, p. 104).
“The plate on which the portrait was drawn had previously been used for an oblong view of West Point which a friend of Whistler
brought to him for his opinion; stacked muskets can still be seen at the lower right corner of this print”.