Label Copy: In this portrait, twelve-year-old Annie Haden is shown in a pose derived from earlier conventions of aristocratic portraiture by the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez (1599–1660); she wears a hat and cape as if she is about to go out. Despite the overall patterning of the garments, rug, and drapery, here Whistler focuses interest on his niece’s face, capturing with the most delicate lines and a touching sympathy her slightly tentative and perhaps melancholic expression.
The artist considered Annie Haden to be one of his most important prints. Indeed, asked to make a decision about which was his best, he replied that he would “rest his reputation on Annie Haden,” and he chose to include it in the retrospective of his work at the World’s Fair of 1900 in Paris, at which he was awarded the grand prize in etching. The silvery tonalities of this drypoint were particularly prized by the artist, and he sought to emulate them years later in his lithographs.