Portrait of Whistler

Artist: Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)
Historical period(s)
Oil on canvas mounted on aluminum panel
H x W: 46.8 x 36.6 cm (18 7/16 x 14 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

artist, France, portrait

To 1906
Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), New York, NY, to 1906 [1]

From 1906 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Samuel Putnam Avery in 1906 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Reserved List of Whistleriana, Wh. R. 1, L. 5807, pg. 1, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Samuel Putnam Avery (C.L. Freer source) 1822-1904
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Whistler’s good friend Henri Fantin-Latour originally included this portrait as part of a large composition called Le toast: Hommage à la Verit&‌eacute; (The Toast: Homage to Truth) that also depicted such avant-garde figures as the painter Edouard Manet and the poet Charles Baudelaire. The Frenchmen wore conventional black suits in the group portrait. Whistler, however, insisted on distinguishing himself by wearing a colorful Chinese robe. Fantin’s group portrait and Whistler’s painting The Princess from the Land of Porcelain were exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1865. Critics ridiculed Fantin’s work, and he later destroyed it, leaving only this fragment of Whistler.

Published References
  • E. J. Rousuck Invites you to a Spring Show of Fantin-Latour: Flowers, Fruits, Figures; March 26th through April 14, 1951, at the Galleries of Scott & Fowles, New York. Exh. cat. New York, March 26th - April 14, 1951. pl. 14.
  • Christian Brinton. Modern Artists. London. pp. iii, opp. 99.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell. Whistler the Friend., 1st ed. London and Philadelphia. opp. p. 120.
  • Burns A. Stubbs. Paintings, Pastels, Drawings, Prints, and Copper Plates by and Attributed to American and European Artists, Together with a List of Original Whistleriana, in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 1, no. 2, 2nd ed. Washington, 1967. pl. 30.
  • Albert Gallatin. The Portraits and Caricatures of James McNeill Whistler: An Iconography, with twenty examples, ten hitherto unpublished. London and New York. pp. 11, 25, fig. 32.
  • Albert Gallatin. Portraits of Whistler: A Critical Study and an Iconography. New York. pp. 13, 34, pl. 35.
  • James Laver. Whistler., 2nd ed. London. p. 48.
  • Bridget Alsdorf. Fantin's Failed Toast to Truth. vol. 3 Los Angeles. p.55, fig.16.
  • Linda Merrill. The Peacock Room: A Cultural Biography. Washington and New Haven. p. 74, fig. 1.29.
  • Bridget Alsdorf. Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting. Exh. cat. Princeton. p. 146.
  • George H. Boughton. A Few of the Various Whistlers I Have Known. vol. 30 London, December 15, 1903. p. 212.
  • Edwards Park. Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution., 1st ed. Washington and New York. p. 332.
  • Harry Graf Kessler. Whistler. vol. 3 Berlin, August 1905. p. 466.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.