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[WHISTLER, James McNeill.]

Eden versus Whistler. The Baronet and the Butterfly.

A Valentine with a Verdict.

Published: Paris: Louis-Henry May, [1899]

Stock code: 104607

Price: £750

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First and limited edition, one of 250 numbered copies signed by Whistler with his butterfly monogram. “Early in 1894 Whistler painted a small portrait of Lady Eden (Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow), and her husband, Sir William Eden, sent £100 for it, which Whistler banked. Whistler exhibited the picture in Paris but refused to deliver it, and Eden instituted legal proceedings; whereupon Whistler returned the money but scraped out the figure, substituting that of an American sitter in its place, so that if he lost the case the portrait could not be recovered. At the civil tribune in March 1895 Whistler was ordered to hand over the portrait and pay damages; but after two appeals, in 1897 and 1900, Whistler was finally granted the picture and Eden was ordered to pay expenses. In Eden versus Whistler: the Baronet and the Butterfly (1899) Whistler published his account of the case, which entered French law by establishing that artists do not enter into ordinary commercial contracts of sale with their patrons” (ODNB).

Octavo. Original mustard-yellow cloth spine, drab yellowish paper boards, spine lettered in black, front cover lettered in gilt, Whistler’s butterfly monogram in gilt on spine and front cover, untrimmed. Decorations by Whistler in the text. Spine toned, a little wear to corners, some marks to covers, offsetting to recto of limitation leaf and verso of imprint at end, but a very good, clean, copy of a rather fragile book.

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