The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Etienne Boussod, fl. 1885-1919

Nationality: French
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Etienne Boussod, a Paris art dealer and publisher, was part of the firm of dealers Boussod, Valadon et Cie, a firm founded in 1884 by his father Léon Boussod and René Valadon, with Adolphe Goupil and his son Albert Goupil as backers. The firm was a successor to that of Goupil, and after Adolphe Goupil’s retirement in 1886 it continued to be known familiarly by that name. Etienne Boussod had a brother Jean Boussod who was also an art dealer in the family's firm. He also had two sisters, one of whom married René Valadon in 1875 and the other Léon Avril.


In 1886 Etienne Boussod joined his father's business, with his brother Jean entering in 1887, and later on his brother-in-law Léon Avril. After Goupil’s death in 1893, the head office was established at 24 Boulevard des Capucines, and when Léon Boussod died in 1896, Valadon became Director. In 1898 Valadon formed a new company with Etienne Boussod and Auguste Avril which lasted until 1919. In 1919 it was replaced by Jean Boussod, Manzi, Joyant et Cie.

Boussod, Valadon et Cie specialised in aquatints and prints, particularly after Salon paintings. They also dealt in paintings, with an emphasis on the Hague school, a taste encouraged by Elbert van Wisselingh, a young trainee manager and son of a prominent Dutch dealer, and also by the painter Anton Mauve, who was a nephew of Boussod’s by marriage. The firm also dealt in the works of the Barbizon artists and the Impressionists.

The firm had a branch in London, known as the Goupil Gallery, located at 116–117 New Bond Street, whose director from 1878 to 1896 was David Croal Thomson. He had a particular interest in Dutch art, the work of the New English Art Club, and JW.

A set of six of JW's lithographs, 'Notes', was published in London by Boussod, Valadon et Cie. in June 1887. A significant number of works by JW passed through the hands of the firm, including Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38), Sketch for 'La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine' (YMSM 49), Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115), Study for the Head of Miss Cicely H. Alexander (YMSM 128), Nocturne: Blue and Gold - St Mark's, Venice (YMSM 213), Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers (YMSM 413), Green and silver - The Bright Sea, Dieppe (M.893), Note in black and grey (M.931), A Street Scene (M.1012) and Mother and Child (M.1282). In 1892 Julia Revillon attempted to sell Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room (YMSM 34) to Boussod, Valadon et Cie. for 800 guineas but the price was considered too high (#05175).


Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; Houfe, Simon, ‘David Croal Thomson, Whistler’s Aide-de-camp’, Apollo, vol. 119, 1984, pp. 112–19; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995; Whiteley, Linda, 'Boussod, Valadon et Cie', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, at (accessed 25 July 2002); (accessed 2004.05).