Steel anvil with removable wood handle, formerly owned by Whistler

Historical period(s)
mid 19th century
Medium
Steel, wood
Dimensions
H x W: 3.8 x 8.9 cm (1 1/2 x 3 1/2 in)
Geography
England
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1908.237
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Tool and Equipment
Type

Anvil

Keywords
England
Provenance

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) [1]

To 1908
Otto H. Bacher (1856-1909), New York, NY, given by James McNeill Whistler, to 1908 [2]

From 1908 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Otto H. Bacher in 1908 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]

Notes:

[1] According to Curatorial Remark 2 in the object record: "(Undated folder sheet note) Presented by Mr. Whistler to Mr. Bacher."

[2] See Whistler Reserved List, R. 35, pg. 4, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[3] See note 2.

[4] 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 1834-1903
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Otto H. Bacher (C.L. Freer source) 1856-1909

Label

Freer purchased this anvil and a hammer from the etcher Otto Bacher in 1908. Bacher had worked with Whistler in Venice in 1879-80, and told Freer that the tools had previously belonged to Whistler. Whistler would have used them to remove lines from plates that had already been etched. To do this, he would have placed his plate upside down on the anvil and hammered the lines out from the back. After beating out the unwanted lines, Whistler would have had to repolish the front of the plate before adding new lines to it.  

Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects