Henry P. McIlhenny (2)

Since it looks likely that we will be holed up in Philadelphia for the forseeable future with all flights cancelled and most of yesterday spent waiting for cancelled trains, I have been trying to find out how it was that Henry McIlhenny acquired the painting now known, non-judgmentally, as Intérieur, the title by which it was first exhibited by Durand-Ruel in 1905, rather than Le Viol, as it was called from 1912 at least by friends and associates of Degas, which assumes that it is, in some way unspecified, about rape.

It was sold for 100,000 francs on 30 August 1909 by Durand-Ruel to M.Jacacci, a dealer in New York, who in turn sold it to Alfred Atmore Pope, a collector in Farmington, Connecticut in 1911, when it was exhibited and much admired at the Fogg. Pope either sold or gave it to Harris Whittemore, a friend and fellow collector. McIlhenny apparently bought it from Whittemore in 1936, the year in which he organised an exhibition on Degas. By then, he had already himself become a serious and passionate collector, buying bronze stauettes while on holiday in Egypt aged 15, and a Still Life by Chardin as a sophomore at Harvard.

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