James A. M. Whistler, Tête-à-Tête in the Garden, lithograph, 1890. Estimate: $4,000 to $6,000.
James A. M. Whistler’s work in lithography dates from three distinct periods of his career. His two earliest lithographs, from 1855, were made in the U.S. just prior to his departure for Paris. Whistler turned again to lithography in 1878. This was the same time he returned to his etchings of the Thames as a way to regain financial footing. While living in London, Whistler was also acutely aware of popular artistic trends in Paris and no doubt knew of Manet’s, Degas’ and Pissarro’s work in lithography at the time and strove to keep up with them.
The highpoint of Whistler’s lithography dates from around 1887 to 1896, a period during which he produced more than 150 lithographs. The style of these lithographs generally corresponds to his etched work at the time—the lithographs are often fairly slight, sketch-like scenes of everyday life directly observed by Whistler in London, Paris and parts of northern Europe.