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

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Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl

Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl dates from 1864. 1

1863: In March Whistler moved to 7 Lindsey Row, which is the setting for Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl [YMSM 052].

Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl, photograph, 1892/1894
Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl, photograph, 1892/1894

1864: The portrait was originally signed and dated '1864'. The photograph of Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl by Hanfstaengl, Munich, reproduced above, and reproductions in the Art Journal (1894 and 1900), Mir Iskusstva (1903), and by Muther (1894), show the date ‘1864’ after the signature. 2

On or before Derby Day (25 May 1864) Whistler told Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890), 'I have varnished the little White Girl.' 3

Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl, in original frame, Pennell 1911,
f.p. 124
Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl, in original frame, Pennell 1911, f.p. 124

1865: It was exhibited at the 97th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1865 (cat. no. 530) as 'The Little White Girl'.

Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl, Tate Britain
Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl, Tate Britain

1900: After incurring some minor damage, the painting was retouched by Whistler in Paris. 4 The date, originally painted at upper right, was removed at some time, possibly ̶ as suggested by the Pennells ̶ in 1900, when Whistler was working on the painting. 5

Notes:

1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 52).

2: Muther 1894 [more], repr. p. 529. Art Journal December 1894 [more], repr. p. 359. Anon., ‘Dzh. Uistler’, Mir Iskusstva, 9, 1903, pp. 61-69, repr. p. 62. Art Journal special number, October 1900 [more], repr.

3: [17/24 May 1864], GUW #02788.

4: Whistler to A. H. Studd, [3 May 1900], GUW #03163.

5: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 1, p. 127.

Last updated: 17th September 2018 by Grischka