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

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Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine

Titles

It is not certain that the known titles are actually Whistler's. Punctuation and capitalisation varies, as seen in these examples:

  • 'Rose et Argent. La Jolie Mutine' (1903, anon.). 1
  • 'Graziosa e ritrosa: rosa ed argento' (1903, V Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia). 2
  • 'Rose et Argent: La Jolie Mutine' (19 3
  • 'Rose et argent – La Jolie Mutine' (1980, YMSM). 4

The Italian 'Graziosa e ritrosa' can be translated as 'Pretty and coy'; the French, 'La Jolie Mutine' may be translated as 'The pretty scamp' or 'pretty rebel'. Both agree on 'Pink and Silver.'

Avoiding the problems of translation, the French version, 'Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine', has been generally accepted.

Description


                    Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine, The Hunterian
Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine, The Hunterian

A full length portrait of a woman, standing on a brown floor, against a pale ochre wall. She stands with her body turned slightly to left, her head tilted to left (her right). Dark-eyed, she is looking to right, rather than at the viewer. She wears a black dress with a narrow waist and three-quarter length sleeves ending in black and white striped lace cuffs with deep zigzag edges; the broad tippet over her shoulders is a pleated material in a black and white check pattern, and also has a spiky zigzag edge. A black chiffon scarf round her neck is tied in a bow to left. Two small pink bows or flowers adorn the tippet. Her curly hair is black, with a short fringe, and she wears a tall, narrow bonnet adorned with red flowers and black lace, gauze or feathers. A curl of hair or feather curves across her cheek at left. Her hands are at her sides, holding stretched out between them a piece of material, probably a long glove.

Sitter


                    Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine, The Hunterian
Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine, The Hunterian
J. Whistler, The Rose Scarf, The Hunterian
J. Whistler, The Rose Scarf, The Hunterian

The sitter has not been identified with certainty. She closely resembles the model for The Rose Scarf [YMSM 390].

B. Whistler, Study of 'Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine', The Hunterian, GLAHA 46318
B. Whistler, Study of 'Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine', The Hunterian, GLAHA 46318

A drawing of the sitter by Beatrice Philip (Mrs E. W. Godwin, Mrs J. McN. Whistler) (1857-1896), Study for 'Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine' [M.1326] (originally attributed to Whistler), drawn possibly between 1892 and 1894, was inscribed, many years later, by Harold Wright, 'Mrs Whibley'. This may have been based on information from Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) , who should have known if it was a picture of her sister Ethel Whibley (1861-1920) . If so, it shows her as much younger and more vivacious than was usual in Whistler's portraits of her.

It is also possible that one of the other Birnie Philip sisters could have posed although there is no record of this.

Notes:

1: Label on verso.

2: V Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia, Venice, 1903 (cat. no. 39).

3: James McNeill Whistler, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, 1936 (cat. no. 19).

4: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 389).

Last updated: 22nd October 2020 by Margaret