James McNeill Whistler , (American, 1834-1903)
Oil on canvas
H: 191.4 W: 90.9 cm
Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1904.78a-b
Maud Franklin (1857-circa 1941) met Whistler when she was in her teens and Whistler in his forties. She lived with Whistler, bore him two daughters, and was his supportive partner during the most difficult years of his career. Delighting in Maud's grace, Whistler drew her in more than sixty works ranging from oils to lithographs. He showed her sleeping, sewing, reading, sick in bed, and in all her various moods and activities.
This painting, however, depicts her at her most vibrant, in a formfitting dress that reveals her pretty figure and light step. This apparent self-confidence would stand Maud in good stead when Whistler cast her off in 1888 in order to marry the widow of his friend, architect E.W. Godwin. She, however, went on to marry a rich New Yorker and thereafter lived a prosperous life in Paris and London.