The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Marcellin-Gilbert Desboutin, 1823-1902

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1823
Place of Birth: CĂ©villy
Date of Death: 1902.02.18
Place of Death: Nice


Marcellin-Gilbert Desboutin was a painter, print maker and writer.


Desboutin was a pupil of Thomas Couture, who made his début at the Salon in 1878. He became well known for his portraits of celebrities and of his contemporaries executed in drypoint, a medium that he sought to promote: this was a concern shared by JW. He also worked in oil, producing both portraits and landscapes. In 1879 he was awarded a third class medal and in 1889 a gold medal. He received the Légion d'honneur in 1895, an honour bestowed on JW three years previously.

Desboutin not only showed his work in Paris, but in London at the New English Art Club, where in 1888 JW also exhibited an early oil, A White Note (YMSM 44), and recent etching of Brussels. Like JW, Desboutin appears to have been included in Stéphane Mallarmé's social circle in Paris in the 1890s (#03836).


Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, Paris, 1960; Johnson, J., and A. Greutzner, The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980.