Brown and Gold probably dates from between 1895 and 1900.
1895: Beatrice Philip (Mrs E. W. Godwin, Mrs J. McN. Whistler) (1857-1896) wrote to the art dealer Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) that Whistler was painting a portrait, possibly this one: 'He thinks he will be through with his portrait by the end of next week.' 3
1895 or 1896: it was probably 'the portrait of Whistler, full length' that Martin Brimmer (1829-1896) of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, saw in Whistler's studio. 4 This is the first definite reference to the full-length. The portrait was interrupted, as Whistler wrote, by the serious illness of his wife: 'My own portrait - Alas! - that also must be left for the brighter days when I can again be in the fine old Studio that you know so well.' 5
1897: Whistler was painting a self portrait (probably this painting or possibly Gold and Brown [YMSM 462]) in March, at the same time as Portrait of Miss Marion Peck [YMSM 439]. He wrote to Marion Peck (Mrs W. R. Farquhar) (1872-1942) explaining: 'my own portrait has had its turn, and if today I were to continue yesterdays painting before it dries in, I could finish the picture, and could show you the two great works together!' 6
1898: Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920) said that he had been told by the art dealer David Croal Thomson (1855-1930) that 'you [Whistler] have several fine things on hand - one a portrait of yourself'; Eddy added that he would like the opportunity to buy it. 8
1900: exhibited at the Exposition Universelle, Grand Palais, Paris, 1900 (cat. no. 108. in the American section) as 'Brown and Gold'. Albert Eugene Gallatin (1882-1952) claimed that Whistler repainted it in part after its exhibition. 10 On the contrary, Whistler's executrix, Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), claimed it had been rubbed down in 1900 and not repainted. 11
2: Sickert, Walter, 'Where Paul and I differ', Art News, No. 14, 10 February 1910, p. 113.
11: R. Birnie Philip to E. A. Gallatin, 2 December 1913, GUL Whistler BP III.
Last updated: 22nd October 2020 by Margaret