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

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Brown and Gold

Brown and Gold probably dates from between 1895 and 1900.

1894: Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920) saw a self-portrait in Whistler's studio, but mentioned no details. 1

1894/1895: The artist Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) stated that he had seen Whistler at work on several self-portraits, which may have included this painting. 2

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) (b. ca 1872) 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

J.McN.Whistler at 110 rue du Bac, platinum print, 1896/1901, GUL Whistler  PH1/123,
2491
J.McN.Whistler at 110 rue du Bac, platinum print, 1896/1901, GUL Whistler PH1/123, 2491

1898: 'the full-length of himself, in long overcoat' was positively identified by Joseph Pennell (1860-1926) when he saw it in Whistler's studio in rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Paris, in May 1898. 7

1898: Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920) was told by the art dealer David Croal Thomson (1855-1930) that 'you [Whistler] have several fine things on hand - one a portrait of yourself', which he would like the opportunity to buy. 8

1899/1900: Whistler was alternating work on the Portrait of Miss Marion Peck and his self portrait (probably this painting but possibly Gold and Brown [YMSM 462]) 9

Brown and Gold, The Hunterian
Brown and Gold, The Hunterian

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

Notes:

1: Eddy to Whistler, 5 December [1894], GUW #01019.

2: Sickert, Walter, 'Where Paul and I differ', Art News, No. 14, 10 February 1910, p. 113.

3: [May/June 1895], GUW #09725.

4: E. G. Kennedy to Whistler, 27 March 1896, GUW #07276.

5: Whistler to E. G. Kennedy, [28 March 1896], GUW #09739. Beatrice Whistler died in 1896.

6: Whistler to M. Farquhar, [15 March 1897], GUW #10641.

7: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 2, p. 204.

8: Eddy to Whistler, 1 March 1898, GUW #01029.

9: Whistler to Marion Farquhar, [December 1899/February 1900], GUW #13193.

10: Gallatin 1913 A [more], p. 21 (no. 8).

11: R. Birnie Philip to E. A. Gallatin, 2 December 1913, GUL Whistler BP III.

Last updated: 25th July 2018 by Margaret