La Vieille aux Loques – early state
James Whistler (1834-1903), La Vieille aux Loques, etching and drypoint, 1858. [signed in the plate with the reverse s], 8 1/8 x 5 3/4 inches. Kennedy 21 first state (of three); Glasgow 27 second state (of 4). In very good condition. Watermark: foolscap
Jules Gerbeau, Paris (Lugt 1166);
his sale, Strölin, Paris, May 25–27, 1908 (Lugt mentions a “belle série” of Whistler prints in this sale)
Kennedy Galleries, New York (their stock no. in pencil on verso a45616)
Howard Mansfield, New York (Lugt 1342)
Harris G. Whittemore, Naugatuck, Connecticut (Lugt 1384a)
A fine, rich impression of this early proof, before various shading and hatching lines and the name and address of the printer Delatre are added (in the Kennedy second state, Glasgow third state) for publication in the French Set.
La Vieille aux Loques is exceedingly rare in this state, i.e., prior to publication. The Glasgow census indicates no early proofs among major Whistler collections (e.g., Chicago, Baltimore, British Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale, Colby, Boston MFA, Fogg, Freer, Hunterian, Cleveland, MMA ), with the exception of the NYPL Avery Collection (second state, cited by Kennedy), and the Library of Congress (first state, not known to Kennedy). The print is not rare in the third or fourth states.
La Vieille aux Loques was published in the later third state in Douze eaux-fortes d’aprčs Nature (Twelve Etchings from Nature, the ‘French Set’) in 1858.
The composition, probably etched in Paris, is of course related to his other doorway or interior etchings such as The Rag Pickers, La Marchande de Moutarde, and The Kitchen, and, as Lochnan has pointed out, relates to a tradition in Dutch art of compositions framed by doorways, and later paintings by Francois Bonvin (1817-1887), Charles Jacque (1813-1894), and Jean Baptiste Millet (1831-1906).