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

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Portrait study of a lady


  • 1908: according to the Studio, owned by Thomas Way (1837-1915) .
  • 1910: possibly consigned by Otto Gutekunst (ca 1865-after 1939) , London dealer, to auction, Christie's, London, 13 December 1910 (lot 16) as 'Head of a Girl', and bought by Parsons, London dealer;
  • 1910: acquired, possibly in 1910, by Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935) ;
  • 1935: after his death, listed by his widow Katherine Geddes Benedict (1879-1961) as 'Charcoal Drawing of Head of a Lady' in the possession of herself and her daughter Mrs James Douglass Sharpe;
  • 1962: sold at auction, Sotheby's, London, 21 November 1962 (lot 4) as 'Portrait of a Lady', bought by the Graham Galleries, New York;
  • By 1980: sold to Paul Magriel Sr (1906-1990), New York.

There are alternative scenarios for the early provenance. One strand suggests that this, like Study of a lady's head [M.0552], was with Frederick Keppel (1845-1912), New York dealer, in 1904, and that it could be 'Head of a Lady' with E. G. Kennedy, another New York dealer, in 1908.

The other strand starts with the possibility that it was owned by Way (which is quite possible), sold by Gutekunst at Christie's in 1910 (which is not certain), and acquired about that time by Benedict (which is likely). This is the slightly more likely scenario.


  • 1904: possibly Etchings, Dry-Points, and a Few Drawings by Whistler, Frederick Keppel & Co., New York, 1904 (cat. no. 109) as 'Study of a Lady's Head' or (110) as 'Study of a Boy'.

Last updated: 8th March 2021 by Margaret