It is possible that it was painted from 1865 to 1866 and was continued into the early 1870s, as was Whistler in his Studio [YMSM 063].
Both The Artist's Studio and Whistler in his Studio [YMSM 063] relate to a large picture that Whistler intended to submit to the Salon in 1866. He described the proposed figure composition to Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) on 16 August 1865:
'J'ai pour le salon une réunion de nous autres à mon tour - j'en ai fait une esquisse qui est bigrement bien - ca représente l'intérieur de mon atelier - porcelaine et tout! Il y a toi et [Albert] Moore, la fille blanche assise sur un canapé et la Japonaise qui se promène! … c'est en hauteur, et aura à peu près dix pieds de haut, sur six ou sept de large.' 2
Translation: 'In my turn I have a reunion of all of us for the Salon - I have done a sketch of it which is really good - it shows the interior of my studio - porcelain and all. You are there, and Moore, the white girl sitting on the couch, and the Japanese girl walking around! ... It's upright, and will be about ten feet high, and six or seven wide.'
Both Whistler in his Studio and The Artist's Studio differ from this description, in that neither Albert Joseph Moore (1841-1893) nor Fantin-Latour are now visible. The phrase 'à mon tour' refers to Fantin-Latour's group portraits, Hommage à Delacroix (Salon 1864; Musée d'Orsay, Paris) and Hommage à la Verité: Le Toast, in both of which Whistler's portrait appeared. Le Toast was shown at the Salon in 1865, then cut into fragments by the artist. Some of the portrait heads survive, the self-portrait and the portrait of Whistler being in the Freer Gallery of Art. There is, however, no record of Whistler going on to paint the large picture mentioned in his letter to Fantin-Latour.
Last updated: 1st December 2020 by Margaret