The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Marie Mallarmé, 1835-??

Nationality: German
Date of Birth: 1835
Place of Birth:
Date of Death:
Place of Death:


Christine ('Marie') Mallarmé, née Gerhard, the daughter of Frantz Gerhard, was a governess. She had a sister called Anna who was in domestic service or possibly also a governess. Marie married the French Symbolist writer and poet Stéphane Mallarmé on 10 August 1865 in Kensington (now Brompton Oratory). They had one daughter, Geneviève (1864-1919), later the first Mme Edmond Bonniot.


Marie met Mallarmé in 1862 whilst she was working as a governess for a wealthy family in Sens. In September of that year they agreed to marry and in November Marie accompanied Mallarmé to England where he hoped to learn English in order to become a teacher. There were some objections to their marriage as Marie was without social status or money.

On 13 June 1888 Claude Monet introduced JW to Stéphane Mallarmé. He agreed to translate the 'Ten O'Clock' lecture into French. The two men became regular correspondents and close friends. In April 1892 JW worked on a lithograph of Mallarmé for the frontispiece of Vers et Pros (Paris, 1893). JW painted Geneviève's portrait in October 1897, Rose et gris: Geneviève Mallarmé (YMSM 485). JW was very upset at Mallarmé's death on 9 September 1898.


Barbier, Carl Paul (ed.), Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964; 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; Austin, Lloyd James, 'Stéphane Mallarmé', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 7 May 2002).