James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903)
Blue and Opal - The Photographer

Watercolor on paper
Painted circa 1885

4 15/16 x 8 1/2 in. (12.4 x 21.6cm)

Provenance

Howard Mansfield, New York.
Harlow McDonald & Co., New York City, New York.
Mrs. Cornelius J. Sullivan, New York, 1934-1935.
(With) Macbeth Gallery, New York City, New York, 1934.
E.A. Seasongood, 1935.
Sold at Parke - Bernet auction, New York City, New York, 5-6 November, 1951, lot 304.
Private Collection, 1951.
Macbeth Gallery, New York City, New York.
Private Collection, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1952.
Macbeth Gallery, New York City, New York, 1956.
Hirschl & Adler, New York City, New York, 1957.
Acquired from the above in 1959 by the present owner.
The Estate of Gerald M. Bordman, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Sold for $473,000
Estimated at $150,000 - $250,000


 

Watercolor on paper
Painted circa 1885

4 15/16 x 8 1/2 in. (12.4 x 21.6cm)

Provenance

Howard Mansfield, New York.
Harlow McDonald & Co., New York City, New York.
Mrs. Cornelius J. Sullivan, New York, 1934-1935.
(With) Macbeth Gallery, New York City, New York, 1934.
E.A. Seasongood, 1935.
Sold at Parke - Bernet auction, New York City, New York, 5-6 November, 1951, lot 304.
Private Collection, 1951.
Macbeth Gallery, New York City, New York.
Private Collection, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1952.
Macbeth Gallery, New York City, New York, 1956.
Hirschl & Adler, New York City, New York, 1957.
Acquired from the above in 1959 by the present owner.
The Estate of Gerald M. Bordman, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Exhibited

London, Dowdeswell, 1886.

(Possibly) Paris, 1887.

New York, 1889 (where purchased by Howard Mansfield).
'Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Mr. Whistler,' Boston, Copley Society, 1904.
New York, 1984

'James McNeill Whistler: Retrospective Exhibition, 1994-95,' Touring Exhibition; Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom, October 12, 1994 - January 8, 1995; Reunion des Musées Nationaux (Musée d'Orsay), Paris, France, February 6 - April 30, 1995; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., May 28 - August 20, 1995.

Literature

Art Digest 1938, p. 24.

Carstairs, 1938.

Exhibition Catalogue, New York, 1984 (120) (illus.)

Exhibition Catalogue, London, 1994 (145) (illus.)

Note

This work is included in the catalogue raisonné of works by James McNeill Whistler compiled by Margaret F. MacDonald, as catalogue number 1037, (illus.)

"It is possible that this watercolour yellowed after the exhibition in 1886 and this led to the change in title in 1889; several of Whistler's paintings suffered such sea changes. On the other hand, the colour scheme resembles that of other watercolours painted in Dieppe and it shares their restraint and economy. Apart from the greenish, turquoise sea, there is a range of greys on the beach and figures. White was used on the water and on the skirt. Variations were introduced by the pink of the boat and a lovely pearly green.
The subject shows Whistler's interest in recording figures not just as spots of colour or compositional aids, but as participating in activities. Dieppe provided plenty of opportunities to paint people at work and play. Photography was extremely popular by the mid-eighties. High winds, sea and sand permitting, seaside photographers were increasingly common, although the promenade, rather than the beach was the more usual venue. Whistler himself used photography to record and promote his work, and occasionally as a working tool and he collected photographs of work by artists whom he particularly admired. He discussed the possibilities of photography with friends like Degas, but he himself does not seem to have taken photographs himself." (MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler: Paintings, Pastels and Watercolours, A Catalogue Raisonné, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1995.)

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