Portrait of Whistler with a Hat

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Sitter: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
Oil on canvas
H x W: 46.3 x 38.1 cm (18 1/4 x 15 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

self portrait, United States

Ernest Delannoy (died circa 1860-1870), France, given by the artist [1]

Henri Valentin (1820-1855), France, purchased at auction, Hôtel des Ventes, Paris, upon the death of Ernest Delannoy in 1870 [2]

From 1871 to 1906
Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), New York, NY, purchased from Henri Valentin in 1871 [3]

From 1906 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Samuel P. Avery in March 1906 [4]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [5]


[1] According to Albert Eugene Gallatin's Portraits of Whistler: a Critical Study and Iconography, this painting was "[p]resented by Whistler to Ernest Delannoy. Bought by Samuel P. Avery from Henri Valentin in 1871. Bought by Charles L. Freer from Samuel P. Avery" (see Albert Eugene Gallatin, Portraits of Whistler: a Critical Study and Iconography [New York and London: John Lane Company, 1918], pgs. 47-48). According to the National Portrait Gallery's Catalogue of Later Victorian Portraits, Henri Valentin purchased the painting at an auction held at Hôtel des Ventes, following the death of Ernest Delannoy (see http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/personExtended/mp04794/james-abbott-mcneill-whistler?tab=iconography). See also, Curatorial Remark 2, Susan Hobbs, 1978, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1. See also, Original Whistler List, pg. 15B, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[4] See note 3.

[5] 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)

Henri Valentin 1820-1855
Samuel Putnam Avery (C.L. Freer source) 1822-1904
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Ernest Delannoy died ca. 1860 -1870


As is frequently the case when a young artist creates a self-portrait, Whistler identified himself with a past master. Theodore Duret reported that Whistler was particularly struck by Rembrandt's Portrait of a Man in a Beret in the Louvre. Whistler adopted Rembrandt's general format as well as his rich, dark palette. The artist Kenyon Cox detected the impact of Courbet's realism in Whistler's use of "rather violent light and shade, with black shadows, the yellowish tone of the flesh, and the attempt at powerful modelling." The self-portrait exhibits a fastidious fashion consciousness:  the artist is wearing a flat-brimmed brushed silk hat--the "Quartier Latin type," as one friend described it. By the time Freer acquired this self-portrait in 1906, it had been frequently exhibited in America and reproduced as both a woodcut and an engraving.

Published References
  • Susan Hobbs. Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. vol. 120, no. 5 New York, November 1981. pl. 2.
  • Geneva Frances Morgan Tilleux. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, 1857-1873. Ann Arbor. fig. 5.
  • L'oeuvre de James McNeill Whistler: quarante reproductions de chefs-d'oeuvre du maitre reunis a l'occasion de l'exposition commemorative organisee a Paris au palais de l'Ecole nationale des beaux arts. Exh. cat. Paris. no. 2.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book IX: Exhibition of May 2nd, 1923. Washington. .
  • Burns A. Stubbs, Freer Gallery of Art. The Whistler Peacock Room. Washington. frontispiece.
  • Denys Sutton. James McNeill Whistler: Paintings, Etchings, Pastels & Watercolours. London, 1966. pl. 1.
  • Judith Elaine Gorder. James McNeill Whistler: A Study of the Oil Paintings 1855-1869. Ann Arbor. fig. 10.
  • Denys Sutton. Nocturne: The Art of James McNeill Whistler. Philadelphia and New York, 1964. fig. 1.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Joseph Pennell. The Life of James McNeill Whistler. 2 vols., London and Philadelphia. vol. 1: p. 190 (1908 ed.); p. 44 (1911 ed.).
  • Andrew McLaren Young, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Studies in British Art 2 vols. New Haven, 1980. vol. 2: pl. 8.
  • Burns A. Stubbs. James McNeill Whistler: A Biographical Outline Illustrated from the Collections of the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 1, no. 4 Washington, 1950. frontispiece.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Joseph Pennell. The Art of Whistler. New York. p. 5.
  • Albert Gallatin. Portraits of Whistler: A Critical Study and an Iconography. New York. pp. 6, 25, pl. 1.
  • Albert Gallatin. The Portraits and Caricatures of James McNeill Whistler: An Iconography, with twenty examples, ten hitherto unpublished. London and New York. pp. 12, 24, no. 1.
  • , Robin Asleson, Lee Glazer, Lacey Taylor Jordan, John Siewert, Marc Simpson, Sylvia Yount. After Whistler: The Artist and His Influence on American Painting. Exh. cat. p. 13, fig. 3.
  • Joseph Pennell. The Triumph of Whistler. Bookman, vol. 43 London. p. 25.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Joseph Pennell. The Whistler Journal. Philadelphia, 1921. p. 29.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler: Uneasy Pieces. Richmond and New York, 2004. p. 29, fig. 2.2.
  • James Warren Lane, Aimee Crane. Whistler. New York. p. 33.
  • John Rewald. "La storia dell'Impressionismo." The history of Impressionism. Milan, Italy, November 2019. p. 41, fig. 18.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 100, pl. 1.
  • Denys Sutton. The Lure of the Golden Bowl. vol. 118, no. 258 London. p. 120.
  • Albert Gallatin. Whistler: The Self-portraits in Oil. vol. 1, no. 3 New York, July 1913. p. 153.
  • Margaret F. MacDonald, Patricia de Montfort, Pamela Robertson, Lee Glazer. James McNeill Whistler Retrospective. Exh. cat. Tokyo, 2014. p. 211, fig. 59.
  • William Scott. Reminiscences of Whistler: Some Venice Recollections. vol. 31 London, December 1903. p. 216.
  • George H. Boughton. A Few of the Various Whistlers I Have Known. vol. 30 London, December 15, 1903. p. 216.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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