Francis Gerard Prange, a London art dealer, was the art manager of the Grafton Gallery, 8 Grafton Street, London.
As the art manager of the Grafton Gallery, Prange was in regular contact with Whistler throughout the 1890s. He was involved in a number of sales, although not as many as D. C. Thomson of the Goupil Gallery. Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate (YMSM 315) was varnished and offered for sale by Prange on Whistler's behalf in July 1895 for 'somewhere about £2000 or less' [#09733]. On 22 October 1895 Prange sent the painting to D. C. Thomson. In this year Whistler also offered Green and Silver: The Devonshire Cottages (YMSM 266) to both Prange and Thomson for no less than 200 guineas, with the stipulation that it be not sold to an Englishman and that it must be available to Whistler for exhibition in London and Paris [#08373].
Whistler exhibited a number of his works at the Grafton Gallery in the 1890s, including Arrangement in Black: Lady Meux (YMSM 228) in 1893; Violet and Silver: A Deep Sea (YMSM 411), Dark Blue and Silver (YMSM 412) and Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers (YMSM 413) in 1894; Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129) in 1895; and Arrangement in Black, No. 3: Sir Henry Irving as Philip II of Spain (YMSM 187) in 1897. He also exhibited with the Society of Portrait Painters at the Grafton Gallery, showing Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate (YMSM 315) and A Portrait (YMSM 406) at their 3rd exhibition in 1893, Rose and Silver: Portrait of Mrs Whibley (M.1415) at their 6th in 1896, Rose and Brown: The Philosopher (YMSM 472) at their 7th in 1897 and Miss May Alexander (YMSM 127) at their 8th in 1898.
Prange was a member of the Society of Portrait Painters and invited Whistler to join in March 1892, having been nominated by Archibald James Stuart-Wortley and seconded by Charles Hazlewood Shannon. Prange expressed in a letter to Whistler his desire that Whistler, with his 'wisdom & wit', and should serve on the Committee [#05018]. Prange reverently referred to Whistler at this time as 'mon cher maitre'.
Prange was anxious to remain on Whistler's side during the Sheridan Ford affair and in 1893 denied any connection with the man [#05030].
UK census 1881, from http://www.familysearch.org (accessed 2004); Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; 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.