The Wine Glass

sketch of wine glass on circular tray

James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)
The Wine Glass, 1859
Etching, black ink on thin, cream Japanese paper
3 1/4 × 2 1/8 in. (8.3 × 5.5 cm)
Second state of two
Signed at lower left in plate: “Whistler”
Gertrude Kosovsky Collection
© The Frick Collection

 

The diminutive size of The Wine Glass belies its importance as Whistler's only still-life etching among the nearly five hundred works he produced in this medium. He likely made it in London while staying with his half-sister Deborah and her husband, Sir Francis Seymour Haden, a physician and an etcher himself with an extensive print collection. Whistler may have been trying to emulate the shading and precision of Old Master etchings, which would have been readily available to him. He may also have inspired Haden, who one month later made his own drawing of a wine glass.