The Dyer

James Abbot McNeil Whistler (1834-1903), The Dyer, 1879-1880, etching and drypoint, on laid paper, signed in pencil on the tab with the butterfly and inscribed “imp” (also with the butterfly in the plate left). Reference: Glasgow 192, first state (of 10, see discussion below), trimmed by the artist on the platemark except for the tab; 306 x 240 mm.

Louisine and Henry O. Havemeyer, by descent to their daughter
Adaline Havemeyer Frelinghuysen, by descent to her son
The Honorable Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen, by descent to his son
Peter Frelinghuysen, by descent to his wife
Barrett Frelinghuysen

A very fine impression.

This is a comparatively rare print (particularly in an early state); it was not published. Glasgow notes only one first state impression, as shown in the Kennedy catalog (present whereabouts unknown). Early state impression are exceedingly rare; Glasgow notes only one second state impression (Cleveland) and one third state impression (Freer). Aside from four experimental (maculatures?) ninth and tenth state working proofs and a counterproof at the Hunterian, the remaining 13 proofs known to Glasgow are of later states (and three are unsigned).

We believe our impression is a new first state, before the first state documented by Glasgow. It is before the scratches in the upper right, between the arch and the windows, apparent in the Glasgow impressions of the first state and succeeding states up to the sixth. In addition, in the second state impression shown in Glasgow there appear to be additional lines to the right and left of the dyer’s left leg and right thigh and additional lines to the “figure” above the dyer; also the butterfly dating of 1880 is consistent with an early impression.

Glasgow, following Kennedy, notes another impression of the Dyer, in the fourth state, was owned by Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer; this impression was later sold at auction in 1936.

The site of the print is Venice, but the exact location has not been established.