James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Lithograph: Firelight: Joseph Pennell, No. 1

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Lithograph: Firelight: Joseph Pennell, No. 1

Description: An original James Abbott McNeill Whistler Lithograph print.
Original transfer lithograph printed in black ink on laid paper bearing the Van Gelder Zonen watermark.
Signed on the stone with the butterfly monogram at left.
A fine lifetime impression of Spink’s only state from the edition published by T. Fisher Unwin, The Century Company, 1898, as the frontispiece for the book Lithography and Lithographers, by Joseph Pennell and Elizabeth Robins Pennell (the stone was destroyed by Goulding in 1903 and there were no posthumus impressions).
Catalog: Levy 152; Way 104; Spink 144
6 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
Sheet Size: 13 7/8 x 10 1/16 inches

Whistler selected this portrait of his friend Joseph Pennell to serve as the frontispiece of a forthcoming book on lithography written jointly by Pennell and his wife, Elizabeth Robins Pennell. Whistler drew 4 lithographic portraits of Joseph Pennell and one of Elizabeth Pennell in rapid succession that month during afternoon visits to their Buckingham Street flat. A letter from Whistler to Unwin dated January 20 establishes that by this date he had already produced one lithograph that might be suitable for the frontispiece. By January 30, when the artist wrote to Unwin again, he had produced a version that he preferred.

According to Whistler’s printer, T.R. Way, this portrait of Pennell, the artists biographer, is one of a series of works drawn by firelight. This astonishingly evocative portrait with its rich shading is the culmination of the firelight series.

Dimensions: Image Size: 6 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
Sheet Size: 13 7/8 x 10 1/16 inches
Artist or Maker: James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Medium: Lithograph
Date: 1896
Condition Report: In excellent condition, printed on a sheet with full margins.
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