'Venus' (Nettie Pettigrew)
|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||191 x 267 mm|
|Signed:||butterfly at right|
|No. of States:||1|
|Impressions taken from this plate (7)|
'"Venus" (Nettie Pettigrew)' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 1
'Nude Figure Reclining' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 2
'Nude Figure Reclining' is very similar to other titles, and could lead to confusion. It is preferable to adopt the title 'Venus' (Nettie Pettigrew) given to the plate when it came with Whistler's estate to the University of Glasgow. Miss Birnie Philip may have given it this title, or may have recorded a title Whistler had given to it.
1: Envelope containing copper plate, University of Glasgow.
2: Kennedy 1902 (cat. no. 304).
The Arabian [m1273], 1890/1892, pastel,
The Hunterian, GLAHA 46149.
This shows Whistler's model, Bessie Pettigrew (b. 1869) (known as 'Hettie' or 'Nettie' ), with whom he had a slightly confrontational relationship; she was a valued model, who knew her own worth. Here, the curve of her waist and hip is exagerated by shading, and her half-shut eyes look heavy-lidded. Her right hand touches her breast in an explicitly sensual way. The sensuality of the image may have stopped Whistler from exhibiting or selling this etching. A similarly sensual pose, where the nude is surrounded by exotic draperies, occurs in the pastel The Arabian [m1273], reproduced above. Other Pettigrew family studies include Baby Pettigrew  and Cameo, No. 1 (Mother and Child) .
3: Hausberg 1991 (cat. no. 176).