The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Etienne Joseph Théophile Thoré, 1807-1869

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1807
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 1869
Place of Death:


Etienne Joseph Théophile Thoré (1807-1869), alias Thoré-Burger, writer and critic, revolutionary and collector.


Thoré, was elected to the Assemblée as citoyen Thoré in 1849. His political career endangered his life and work as an art critic and collector. Whistler certainly knew him well and may have been sympathetic to his political as well as his artistic views.

Thoré wrote under the name of Wilhelm Burger. An enthusiast for Dutch 17th century art, particularly that of Frans Hals, in 1866 Burger published an important essay on the work of Jan Vermeer (1632-1675). This was extremely influential although it was based on some misunderstandings about Vermeer's oeuvre. Thoré attributed 66 pictures to Vermeer although there are only 34 paintings firmly attributed to him today.

Thoré offered, through Edouard Manet, to buy At the Piano (YMSM 24) from Whistler after its exhibition at the Salon in 1867, but it was not for sale (see #00433). Possibly as a consolation, he acquired a drawing by Whistler, Reclining lady (M.214).


Vermeer of Delft: Complete edition of the paintings, with contributions by Rob Rurrs and Willem L. van de Watering, Oxford, 1975; Gaskell, Ivam and Michael Jonkers (eds.), Vermeer Studies, London and New Haven, 1998;; (accessed 2005).