Jul 22, 2005

Cameo, No. 1 (Mother and Child)

Cameo, No. 1 (Mother and Child)

c. 1890-1893

James McNeill Whistler

(American, 1834-1903)


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph King 1923.29

Catalogue raisonné: Kennedy 347

State: only state



Among a group of etchings Whistler made from a nude or partly draped model around 1890 was a pair entitled Cameo No. 1 and Cameo No. 2, showing a young mother playing with her child. Here, the mother leans over the child in an enclosed, protective gesture, perhaps whispering a lullaby. Whistler's treatment of the figure's robe, a semi-classical design based on Roman dress, captured the translucent qualities of the drapery which partly reveals and partly conceals the form beneath. Of this group, the artist's favorite etching was Cameo No. 1, and in 1893 he chose it to be exhibited among a selection of his prints at the Chicago World's Fair. American collectors, however, found Cameo No. 1 too risqué, and the artist was told it was unsalable because of "the thinness of the drapery."

See also
PR - Etching
Type of artwork: 

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