La Jolie Newyorkaise. (The Lovely Lady from New York). 1894. Lithograph. Way 61; Levy 92; Tedeschi, Stratis and Spink 99. 9 x 6 1/4 (sheet 15 x 10 1/8). Edition 30 printed by Way, and 30 printed posthumously by Goulding on November 2, 1903. A fine impression printed from the later edition on the full sheet of 'O.W.P. & A.O.L.' laid paper. Collector's seal verso: Rosalind Birnie Philip (Lugt 405). Monogrammed with the butterfly in the stone. Housed in an archival French mat and a delicate 22 x 18-inch gold leaf frame. $3,500.
La Jolie Newyorkaise is a portrait of Maude Alice Burke (3 August 1872 – 10 July 1948), later Lady Cunard, known as Emerald, was an American-born, London-based society hostess. She was born in San Francisco and was raised in New York, where she became a devotee of music, hearing her first Wagner (the complete Ring cycle) when she was 12. She hoped to marry Prince André Poniatowski, grandson of the last King of Poland; but he jilted her. In April 1895 she married Sir Bache Cunard, grandson of the founder of the Cunard shipping line. He was 21 years her senior, and despite his affection for her, they had little in common. He preferred to live at his country house, Nevill Holt Hall, in Leicestershire, where he was a keen huntsman. His wife began to establish a reputation as a hostess, "with a taste for the arts, or for artists anyhow, especially musicians", and was known for being extremely well read in French and English literature.
It is likely that while Miss Burke was visiting Paris she was introduced to Whistler through a mutual friend. The setting for this lithograph is believed to be the drawing room of Whistler’s house at 110 rue du Bac, Paris, rather than in his studio. When Whistler received the first proofs of this lithograph from Thomas Way, he was delighted with the results and commented in a letter to Way on 22nd August, 1834, "The lady seated in the hat and feathers that I shall call for the present "The Visit", is really splendid! In its go and brightness!".
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