Venus. 1859. Etching and drypoint. Kennedy 59.ii; Glasgow 60.ii. 6 x 9 (sheet 8 x 11 3/16). Glasgow records 27 known impressions. A very rich impression printed in black ink on fine Japanese mulberry paper. Provenance: estate of Alvin B. Glaser Signed and dated in the plate. Housed in an archival French mat and a 14 x 11-inch gold leaf frame. $35,000.
The model was Whistler's mistress 'Fumette', a grisette from the Latin quarter in Paris (see Fumette). She knew the verses of the Romantic poet Alfred de Musset by heart and would recite them to Whistler. She was reportedly passionately attached to Whistler and once tore up his drawings in a jealous rage.
This Venus is closer in spirit to the realistic fleshy nudes of Rembrandt (particularly his etching Jupiter and Antiope) than it is to the idealism of the traditional classical nude, or the more sensational sensuality of Courbet's painted nudes that had been exhibited recently in Paris.
Please click on the link to the Glasgow online catalogue raisonné Venus.
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