Milly Finch

A young woman reclining on a sofa, her left arm raised, holding an open fan, with a second figure behind the sofa at the right; signed with the butterfly at upper left.

Maker(s)
Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
1883-1884
Medium
Watercolor on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 29.8 x 22.5 cm (11 3/4 x 8 7/8 in)
Geography
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1907.170a-d
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Drawing
Type

Watercolor

Keywords
fan, portrait, United States, woman
Provenance

To 1907
Obach & Co., London, to 1907 [1]

From 1907 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Obach & Co. in 1907 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See List of Whistler Purchases Since Making Up the Smithsonian Inventory, pg. 4, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] 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)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Obach & Co. (C.L. Freer source)

Description

A young woman reclining on a sofa, her left arm raised, holding an open fan, with a second figure behind the sofa at the right; signed with the butterfly at upper left.

Label

One of Whistler's most erotic watercolors, Milly Finch evokes Goya's famous paintings of the Naked Maja and the Clothed Maja (both in the Prado). Silhouetted against the vibrant red of he sofa, the model provocatively twists her body, emphasizing the narrowness of her waist and the thrust of her hips. But as in Goya's paintings, the model's head seems detached from her body, and her glazed stare holds the viewer at a distance.

Published References
  • Daniel E. Sutherland. Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake. .
  • Harvard Art Museums. American Paintings at Harvard. 2 vols. New Haven. vol. 2: p. 423.
  • Anton Sailer. James McNeill Whistler in der Freer Gallery of Art zu Washington. .
  • Eugen Neuhaus. The history & ideals of American art. London. pl. 186.
  • Anna Gruetzner. A Fragile Modernism: Whistler and His Impressionist Followers. New Haven and London, 2007. fig. 79.
  • Christopher Finch. American Watercolors., 1st ed. New York, 1986. fig. 182.
  • Margaret F. MacDonald. James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels, and Watercolours : A Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven, 1995. .
  • Grace Dunham Guest. Whistler: The Artist and the Man. Smithsonian Institution Radio Program, vol. 10, no. 3 New York. p. 9.
  • Burns A. Stubbs, Freer Gallery of Art. Paintings, pastels, drawings, prints, and copper plates by and attributed to American and European artists, together with a list of original Whistleriana in the Freer Gallery of Art. Occasional Papers Series, vol. 1 Washington. p. 18.
  • The World of William Glackens: The C. Richard Hilker Art Lectures & New Perspectives on William Glackens. vol. II, West Haven, Connecticut. p. 97, fig. 70.
  • Susan Grace Galassi, Margaret F. MacDonald, Aileen Ribeiro. Whistler, Women, and Fashion. Exh. cat. New Haven and New York, April 22 - July 13, 2003. p. 150, fig. 144.
  • Anna Gruetzner Robins, Richard Thomson. Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec: London and Paris, 1870-1910: Exhibition held at Tate Britain, 5th October 2005-15th January 2006. Exh. cat. London. p. 159, fig. 43.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 201, pl. 132.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Whistler Watercolors
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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