Rose and Gold: The Little Lady Sophie of Soho

Maker(s)
Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
1898-1899
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
H x W: 64.5 x 53.5 cm (25 3/8 x 21 1/16 in)
Geography
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1902.109a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Oil painting

Keywords
portrait, United States, woman
Provenance

From 1899 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from the artist in 1899 [1]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [2]

Notes:

[1] See Original Whistler List, Paintings, pg. 2, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Purchased from Mr. Whistler in 1899 and paid for in 1902 (see Curatorial Remarks in the object record).

[2] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

James McNeill Whistler (C.L. Freer source) 1834-1903
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Label

This painting is modeled on Sophie Burkitt, the daughter of the artist's landlady at 8 Fitzroy Street. Freer found that Whistler's picture appealed to "as perhaps of his very best" yes found it "so illusive" that it would "baffle the cleverest photographer." When the painting was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum in 1910, a reviewer called it "one of the most perfect of Mr. Whistler's productions, with its dignity of repose, its wonderfully vital expression, now smiling, now earnest, the very essence of soul and movement, which alone was Mr. Whistler's power to convey to the canvas." But the very launguage in which the painting is discussed points toward its historical underpinnings. One need not search far for Whistler's muse, The Little Lady Sophie of Soho represents his attempt to capture the enigmatic half smile of Leonardo's Mona Lisa.

Published References
  • Léonce Bénédite. L'œuvre de James MacNeill Whistler: quarante reproductions de chefs-d'œuvre du maître, réunis à l'occasion de l'exposition commémorative organisée à Paris, au palais de l'École nationale des beaux-arts. Exh. cat. Paris. pl. 25.
  • James McNeill Whistler, with an introduction by Elizabeth Robins Pennell, with an introduction by Joseph Pennell. James McNeill Whistler. Distinguished American artists New York, 1924. pl. 41.
  • Andrew McLaren Young, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Studies in British Art 2 vols. New Haven, 1980. vol. 2: pl. 324.
  • Burns A. Stubbs. James McNeill Whistler: A Biographical Outline Illustrated from the Collections of the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 1, no. 4 Washington, 1950. pl. 26.
  • Bunkio Matsuki. James A. McNeill Whistler: In Memoriam. vol. 5. pp. 8, 9.
  • Grace Dunham Guest. Whistler: The Artist and the Man. Smithsonian Institution Radio Program, vol. 10, no. 3 New York. p. 13.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. pp. 23, 151, pl. 60.
  • Albert Gallatin. Whistler: notes and footnotes and other memoranda. New York. p. 33.
  • Toledo Museum of Art. Catalogue of the Inaugural Exhibition. Exh. cat. New York, January 17 - February 12, 1912. p. 40.
  • Albert Gallatin. Whistler's art dicta and other essays. Boston. p. 42.
  • With Kindest Regards: The Correspondence of Charles Lang Freer and James McNeill Whistler 1890-1903. Washington. p. 60, pl. 12.
  • Bernhard Sickert. Whistler. London and New York. cat. 118, p. 167.
  • Elisabeth Luther Cary. The Works of James McNeill Whistler: A Study., First edition. New York, 1907. cat. 80, p. 169.
  • Theodore Duret. Histoire de James McNeill Whistler et de Son Oeuvre. Paris. p. 190.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Joseph Pennell. The Life of James McNeill Whistler. 2 vols., London and Philadelphia. p. 208 (1908 ed.), 376 (1911 ed.).
  • James Laver. Whistler., 2nd ed. London. p. 276.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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