Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow



This three year project surveys the work of James McNeill Whistler, first in oils and mixed media, and then in watercolour, pastel and drawing. This website is an introduction to the project, and will be updated with news, and links to relevant blogs and websites. Our aim is to complete the online publication of the complete catalogue by December 2017.

Our wider aim is the online publication of Whistler's work and writings. This project builds on, and links to, the catalogue raisonné of Whistler's etchings and his correspondence.

The Work of James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)

The American born artist James McNeill Whistler was an extremely important and influential artist on several continents. A major figure in 19th century art, his work, as painter, printer, and theorist, was widely influential to a younger generation of artists.

His paintings show the influence of various movements including Realism, Impressionism and Symbolism, and artists such as Rembrandt, Velázquez, Ingres, Courbet and Monet. However, there are more surprising connections, for instance in the early copies done by Whistler in Paris, two of which have been recently discovered (one being Jules-Claude Ziegler's La Vision de St. Luc, now in The Hunterian).

His total output was considerable: over 550 paintings in oil and mixed media; 490 etchings and drypoints, 1800 works on paper – drawings, pastels and watercolours - and 179 lithographs, lithotints and mezzotints. And indeed there are multiple impressions of the lithographs and etchings – as many as 10,000 impressions of the etchings are recorded, of which a high proportion were printed by the artist.

His work was exhibited widely, particularly in Europe and America, and eagerly sought by art dealers and collectors. The study of collecting, from art dealer and exhibiting body to collectors and museums is exceptionally well documented in the case of Whistler; the history of his works bridges the art market on both sides of the Atlantic, just as his work, as painter, printer, and theorist, was widely influential to a younger generation of artists.

He also published letters, pamphlets and books on art, and wrote thousands of letters to a wide range of correspondents, which document and illuminate the history of the creation and marketing of his work.


Robin Spencer

16th May 2017

With sadness we report the death of our colleague Robin Spencer yesterday.  More read more

Whistler and the World: The Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler

20th August 2015

Progress on our catalogue (300 entries drafted to date) and an exhibition of the important Lunder Collection in Waterville, Maine.  More read more

The Hundred Days

9th April 2015

Report on current progress : the first 100 entries.  More read more

Website launched

15th December 2014

The website for the project The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler was launched in December 2014.  More read more

Whistler butterfly signature