Title:WearyArtist:James McNeill Whistler Date:1863Creation Place:North America, United StatesCredit Line:The William M. Ladd Collection
Gift of Herschel V. Jones, 1916Accession Number:P.4,559
Etched with lines as wispy and insubstantial as our hold on this figure, Weary is one of James McNeill Whistler's most beguiling prints. The subject's languorous pose has been compared to those in works by the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of English artists opposed to the stringent classical beauty espoused by the Academy. The Pre-Raphaelites instead used their friends as models, as Whistler did here. His subject is Joanna "Jo" Hiffernan, who for six years was his muse and mistress. He shows the Irish beauty with her hair arrayed against a chair, at once open to our gaze but also self-absorbed and distant. The head faintly etched in the lower left corner is a remnant of a previous image, which Whistler neglected to burnish out before reusing the plate for Weary.