The Princess from the Land of Porcelain (La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine)

Standing figure of a woman in a kimono, holding a fan.

Maker(s)
Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
1863-1865
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
H x W (painting): 201.5 x 116.1 cm (79 5/16 x 45 11/16 in)
Geography
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
F1903.91a-b
On View Location
Freer Gallery 12: The Peacock Room
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Oil painting

Keywords
fan, princess, United States, woman
Provenance

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's (1828-1882) studio, London [1]

Unidentified collector, purchased from Dante Gabriel Rossetti's studio [2]

From at least 1872 to 1892
Frederick Richards Leyland (1831-1892), London, purchased from the estate of the unidentified collector, from at least 1872 [3]

From 1892
Alexander Reid (1854-1928), Glasgow, purchased at auction, Christie's, London, May 28, 1892, no. 39 [4]

From ca. 1894-1895 to 1903
Sir William Burrell (1861-1958), Glasgow, purchased from Alexander Reid ca. 1894-1895 [5]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Sir William Burrell in 1903 [6]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [7]

Notes:

[1] See Curatorial Remark 5, Susan Hobbs, 1977, and Curatorial Remark 11, Lee Glazer, May 25, 2010, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

[4] See note 1.

[5] See Original Whistler List, Paintings, page 10, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[6] Purchased by C.L. Freer on August 20, 1903, as the "The Princess of Porcelain," see notes 1 and 5.

[7] 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)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Studio 1828 - 1882
Frederick Richards Leyland 1831 - 1892
Alexander Reid 1854 - 1928
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Sir William Burrell (C.L. Freer source) 1861 - 1958

Description

Standing figure of a woman in a kimono, holding a fan.

Label

Whistler's painting of Christine Spartali, a noted beauty of the 1860s is another in his series of clearly Western compositions that depict languid young women amid Oriental props. Later writers saw parallels between this work and Japanese images, such as woodblock prints by Utamaro, but the painting is just as firmly based upon 18th-century French chinoiserie. The Princesse is one of several early works for which preparatory sketches are known to have been used. One surviving sketch shows the artist blocking in the general composition and colors, but leaving out details of rug, screen and costume that were added to the final work. The spray of flowers at the left of the oil sketch were later eliminated. Whistler's decision isolated Miss Spartali's profile and increased the impact of her exotic visage. However, her father refused to purchase the work as a portrait of his daughter. Whistler was not willing to reduce the size of his signature for another potential purchaser, and the Pennells believed that this incident caused him to develop his butterfly cypher. However, the butterfly did not actually appear until several years later.

Published References
  • The Glasgow Boys. Exh. cat. .
  • Daniel E. Sutherland. Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake. .
  • Art Across the Ages. .
  • Theophile Gautier. Salon de 1865: VI. Peinture., June 24, 1865. .
  • Gallery Book XII: The Peacock Room by James McNeill Whistler. Wasington, D.C., May 1923. .
  • Wynford Dewhurst. Impressionist painting: Its Genesis and Development. London. opp. p. 91.
  • Louise Bruner. Exhibition of 'The Golden Scab' revives Whistler's famous feud with Leyland. Toledo, December 8, 1957. .
  • Frances Fowle. Impressionism & Scotland. Exh. cat. Edinburgh. fig. 65.
  • David B. Elliot. A Pre-Raphaelite Marriage: The Lives and Works of Marie Spartali Stillman & William James Stillman. Woodbridge; Easthampton, MA. pl. 9.
  • Dada. France. .
  • Andrew McLaren Young, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Studies in British Art 2 vols. New Haven, 1980. .
  • Felix Deriege. Salon de 1865: Peinture Fin de 7 Article., June 30, 1865. p. 1.
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  • Ikegami Chuji, Kobe University, Department of Art History, The Society for international exchange of art historical studies. East and West in Asian Art History: Opposition and Exchange. Kobe. pp. 3, 97, fig. 8.
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  • , Robin Asleson, Lee Glazer, Lacey Taylor Jordan, John Siewert, Marc Simpson, Sylvia Yount. After Whistler: The Artist and His Influence on American Painting. Exh. cat. p. 22, fig. 13.
  • Susan Hobbs. The Whistler Peacock Room. Washington, D.C. pp.27-32, pl. 14.
  • Louis Gallet. Le Salon de 1865, Peinture, Sculpture. Paris. p. 28.
  • Peter Black. James McNeill Whistler: Selected Works from the Hunterian Art Gallery. Washington. p. 28.
  • Theodore Duret. Histoire de James McNeill Whistler et de Son Oeuvre. Paris. pp. 29, 148.
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  • Louisa Dresser. Three Americans Abroad. vol. 19 Worchester, May 1954. p. 33.
  • Klaus Berger. Japonisme in Western Painting from Whistler to Matisse. Cambridge, England. pp. 36, 44.
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  • Elizabeth Broun. Thoughts that Began with the Gods: The Content of Whistler's Art. vol. 62 New York, October 1987. pp. 39-40, fig. 10.
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  • Luke Ionides. Memories: Whistler in the Quartier Latin. vol. 1, January 1924. p. 47.
  • Sadakichi Hartmann. The Whistler Book: A Monograph of the Life and Position in Art of James McNeill Whister, Together with a Careful Study of His More Important Works. Boston. pp. 50, 54, 65, 103, 123.
  • Eric Denker. In Pursuit of the Butterfly: Portraits of James McNeill Whistler. Exh. cat. Washington, D.C. pp. 52, 53, 65, fig. 2:5.
  • Ayako Ono. Japonisme in Britain: Whistler, Menpes, Henry, Hornel, and Nineteenth-Century Japan. London and New York, 2003. p. 57, fig. 2.15.
  • Michael Komanecky. The Folding Image: Screens by Western Artists of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Exh. cat. New Haven, 1984. p. 57, fig. 51.
  • Arthur Jerome Eddy. Recollections and Impressions of James A. McNeill Whistler. Philadelphia and London. pp. 58, 128, 130, 210.
  • Louis Auvray. Exposition des beaux-arts Salon de 1865. Exh. cat. Paris. pp. 58-59.
  • Elisabeth Luther Cary. The Works of James McNeill Whistler: A Study., First edition. New York, 1907. cat. 32, pp. 58-60, 160.
  • Monet, Gauguin, Van Gogh... Japanese Inspirations: Museum Folkwang. Exh. cat. p. 60.
  • 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. 63, fig. 61.
  • Frances Fowle. Van Gogh's Twin. Scotland. p. 74, fig. 45.
  • Judith Elaine Gorder. James McNeill Whistler: A Study of the Oil Paintings 1855-1869. Ann Arbor. pp. 79, 89-93, fig. 26.
  • Lois Marie Fink. American Art at the Nineteenth-century Paris Salons. Exh. cat. Washington, D.C. and Cambridge. pp. 82, 103, 405.
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  • Eugene Matthew Becker. Whistler and the Aesthetic Movement. Princeton. pp. 87-88, 93, pl. 12.
  • Tanaka Ikkō Sesoko Tsune. The Hybrid Culture: What Happened when East and West Met. Hiroshima. pp. 90, 95.
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  • Léonce Bénédite. Artistes Contemporains: Whistler. vol. 34, June 1905. pp. 148-149.
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  • Jason Edwards. Alfred Gilbert's Aestheticism; Gilbert amongst Whistler, Wilde, Leighton, Pater and Burne-Jones. Aldershot [England] and Burlington, VT. p. 194, fig. 6.23.
  • Thomas Armstrong. Thomas Armstrong, C.B. A Memoir, 1832-1911. London. p. 196.
  • Hugh Honour. Chinoiserie: The Vision of Cathay. London. pp. 210, 213, 216, 273, fig. 143.
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  • Theodore Duret. Critique d'Avant-Garde. Paris. p. 218.
  • Jules Claretie. Deux Heures au Salon., May 15, 1865. p. 226.
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  • George du Maurier. The Young George du Maurier: A Selection of His Letters, 1860-1867., 2nd Edition. Westport, CT, 1969. p. 244.
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  • A.C.R. Carter. The Art Sales of 1892. New York, September 1892. p. 285.
  • Clay Lancaster. Oriental Contributions to Art Nouveau. vol. 34, December 1952. p. 300.
  • Basil Gray. Japonisme and Whistler. 107. p. 324.
  • Frank A. Hadley. Whistler, the Man as Told in Anecdote. vol. 12, August 1903. p. 345.
  • Peter Ferriday. Peacock Room. vol. 125, June 1959. pp. 408-409, 412, 414.
  • Harry Graf Kessler. Whistler. vol. 3 Berlin, August 1905. p. 458.
  • James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Masters in Art, vol. 8, December 1907. pp. 469, 497, 502, pls. 3, 111.
  • Whistler. The great artists: their lives, works and inspiration 19, London. p. 591.
  • Catherine Carter Goebel. Arrangement in Black and White: The making of a Whistler legend. Ann Arbor. pp. 721-727, 780, pl. 18.
  • Susan Hobbs. Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. vol. 120, no. 5 New York, November 1981. pp. 1198-1200, pls. 8, 9.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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