Chelsea Rags

Street scene of rag shop and figures

James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)
Chelsea Rags, 1890
Transfer lithograph, black ink on cream wove paper, originally ivory
9 1/8 × 7 in. (23.3 × 17.7 cm)
Published in The Albemarle, January 1892
Only state
Printed, center right: Whistler’s butterfly monogram
Gertrude Kosovsky Collection
© The Frick Collection


Whistler lived in London’s working-class neighborhood of Chelsea for four decades. Like many Chelsea shops represented in his lithographic oeuvre, this one recalls his early realist subjects. Whistler emphasizes the strong geometry of the shop’s facade, made even more striking by the contrast with the limp, crinkled fabrics hanging below and next to the windows. This print is one of many lithographs by Whistler that were published in periodicals during and after his lifetime.

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