Note en Rouge: L’Eventail

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
ca. 1884
Oil on wood panel
H x W: 8.8 x 14.7 cm (3 7/16 x 5 13/16 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

fan, United States

To 1913
Henry Cust (1861-1917), London, to 1913 [1]

From 1913 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Henry Cust in December 1913 [2]

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


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Whistler List, "Purchases since making up the Smithsonian Inventory," p. 15, 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)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Henry Cust (C.L. Freer source) 1861-1917


Like Red and Pink, La Petite Mephisto, Note en Rouge: L'Éventail was probably painted in Whistler's London studio during the winter of 1884. Posed provocatively on a narrow bed, the model holds her left hand up to her brightly painted lips. The unusually prominent placement of Whistler's famous butterfly monogram works decoratively, extending the repeated curve established by the model's head covering, fan, and hip. But as a stand-in for the male artist, the butterfly monogram also works thematically, implying the presence of a dominating male presence looming over and directing the sexually charged scene.

Published References
  • Harvard Art Museums. American Paintings at Harvard. 2 vols. New Haven. vol. 2: p. 424.
  • 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. 175.
  • Kenneth Myers. Mr. Whistler's Gallery: Pictures at an 1884 Exhibition. Washington. cat. 37, p. 63.
  • Kenneth Myers. Mr. Whistler's Gallery: the art of displaying art. New York, November 2003. p. 144.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 145, pl. 50.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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