Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

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Self-Portrait may date from 1896, or subsequent years. 1

The stamp of the Maison Chapuis on the back of the stretcher suggests that the canvas was bought or treated in Paris. Thus the portrait could have been started there, but this is not certain. In October 1898 Whistler ordered a load of canvases from Claude Chapuis (1829-1908): 'a dozen more canvasses of the same sizes as the last - there were two measurements - he must have them on his books - say then a dozen of each - say they are for heads', he told Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958). 2 He had just arrived in London at that time but the tenor of the letter suggests he was returning soon and wanted to have his Paris studio in good order.

Self-Portrait, The Hunterian, GLAHA 46329
Self-Portrait, The Hunterian, GLAHA 46329

Whistler was living in Paris in the late 1890s. This portrait could have been worked on early in 1898 – when Whistler was certainly painting another self-portrait, Gold and Brown [YMSM 462] – or after October 1898, when he ordered the canvases from Chapuis, rather than in 1896 as recorded by Harold Wright (1885-1961), the art dealer who helped Miss Birnie Philip list the contents of Whistler's studio after his death.


1: Dated 'about 1896' in YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 461).

2: Whistler to R. B. Philip, [28 October 1898], GUW #04743.

Last updated: 22nd October 2020 by Margaret