The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Carmen Rossi, ??-??

Nationality: Italian
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Carmen Rossi was a model.


According to Pennell, Rossi posed for Whistler as a child in Paris and again in the 1890s when she became his favourite model, posing for Crimson note: Carmen (YMSM 441), Rose et or: La Napolitaine (YMSM 505), Violet and Rose: Carmen qui rit (YMSM 506) and Harmony in Rose and Green: Carmen (YMSM 507). Whistler helped her set up an art school, the Académie Carmen, in the Passage Stanislas in 1898, where he and the sculptor Frederick MacMonnies taught. Carl Frieseke, Gwen John, Inez Bate and Clifford Addams were among the pupils. The latter two became Whistler’s apprentices. The school closed in 1901.

Whilst running the Académie, Rossi was suspected of stealing drawings and paintings from Whistler's studio but Whistler was so fond of her that he never took action against her, although he attempted to do so against the dealers who bought things from her. In October 1901 Whistler discovered that Rossi had sold some of his pictures to the Parisian art dealer Hessele and tried to persuade her to make a list of them. In June 1902 Rossi agreed to help Whistler recover a portrait of herself which she has sold through Hessele for 500 francs. According to Pennell, C. L. Freer had Rossi followed to Rome and bought some pictures from her. She sold a number at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris after Whistler's death, including Nocturne in Blue and Silver: The Lagoon,Venice (YMSM 212). She claimed that she had been given them as payment for bills Whistler owed her.


Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.