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

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The White Symphony: Three Girls

Catalogues Raisonnés

  • Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer, and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980 (cat. no. 87), plate 62, as 'The White Symphony: Three Girls'.
  • MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995 (drawings, cat. nos. 325, 328, 358 verso, 359, 360-64, 367-73, 688 verso, 957, 1163, 1389, 1391, 1394, 1422).
  • Margaret F. MacDonald, Grischka Petri, Meg Hausberg, and Joanna Meacock, James McNeill Whistler: The Etchings, a catalogue raisonné, University of Glasgow, 2012, website at (cat. no. 113).

Authored by Whistler

  • None.

Catalogues 1855-1905

  • Mr Whistler's Exhibition, Flemish Gallery, 48 Pall Mall, London, 1874 (cat. no. 13) as 'Symphony in White and Red' under the heading 'Sketches for Large Paintings'.
  • 64th Annual Exhibition, Royal Society of British Artists, London, 1887 (cat. no. 352) as 'Symphony in White and Red.
  • Oil Paintings, Water Colors, Pastels and Drawings: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Mr. J. McNeill Whistler, Copley Society, Boston, 1904 (cat. no. 19) as 'The White Symphony'.
  • Œuvres de James McNeill Whistler, Palais de l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1905 (cat. no. 11).

Newspapers 1855-1905

  • 'Exhibition of Mr. Whistler's Paintings and Drawings', Globe, London, 20 June 1874, p. 2
  • Anon., Daily News, London, 26 November 1887.
  • Anon., 'The Royal Society of British Artists', News of the World, London, 27 November 1887.
  • Anon., 'Royal Society of British Artists', Sunday Times, London, 27 November 1887.
  • Anon., 'The Royal Society of British Artists', Daily Chronicle, London, 28 November 1887.
  • Anon., 'Royal Society of British Artists', Standard, London, 28 November 1887.
  • Anon., The Globe, London, 29 November 1887.
  • Anon., 'London Art Galleries', Manchester Courier, Manchester, 30 November 1887.
  • Anon., 'Royal Society of British Artists', Home and Colonial Mail, 2 December 1887.
  • Anon., 'Royal Society of British Artists', Graphic, 3 December 1887.
  • Anon., 'Royal Society of British Artists', Hampshire Independent, 3 December 1887.
  • Anon., 'The Suffolk Street Galleries', Daily Chronicle, London, 6 December 1887.
  • Anon., 'The London Art Galleries', Eastbourne Review, Eastbourne, 9 December 1887.
  • Anon., 'Art', Court Circular, London, 10 December 1887.
  • Anon., Pictorial World, London, 22 December 1887.

Journals 1855-1905

  • Matsuki, Bumkio (ed.), 'Whistler Memorial Exhibition', Lotus, vol. 1, no. 1, (Special Holiday Number in Memoriam: James A. McNeill Whistler), December 1903, pp. 7-9, at p. 9.
  • Swinburne, Algernon C., Essays and Studies, London, 1875, p. 360.
  • 'Royal Society of British Artists', Artist, 1 January 1887.
  • Magazine of Art, London, 1 February 1888.


  • None.

Books on Whistler

  • Cary, Elizabeth Luther, The Works of James McNeill Whistler: A Study, with a Tentative List of Artist’s Works, New York, 1907, p. 158 (cat. no. 19).
  • MacDonald, Margaret F., Susan Galassi, Aileen Ribeiro, and Patricia de Montfort, Whistler, Women and Fashion, New Haven and London, 2003, pp. 97-98, repr. fig. 90.
  • Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, pp. 67, 95-98, 137, 338.
  • Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, pp. 148-50.
  • Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 5th (revised) edition, London and Philadelphia, 1911, pp. 108-09.
  • Petri, Grischka, Arrangement in Business: The Art Markets and the Career of James McNeill Whistler, Hildesheim, 2011, pp. 137, 629.
  • Robins, Anna Gruetzner, A Fragile Modernism. Whistler and his Impressionist Followers, London and New Haven, 2007, p. 28.
  • Rossetti, William Michael (ed.), Rossetti Papers, 1862-1870, London, 1903, p. 320.
  • Sickert, Bernhard, Whistler, London and New York, 1908, p. 154 (cat. no. 31).
  • Spencer, Robin, Whistler, New York, 1990, pp. 70-71.
  • Taylor, Hilary, James McNeill Whistler, London, 1978, repr. p. 48.
  • Way, Thomas Robert, and G. R. Dennis, The Art of James McNeill Whistler: An Appreciation, 1st edition, London, 1903, pp. 25-26, 30-32.
  • Way, Thomas Robert, Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the Artist, London and New York, 1912, pp. 26-28, 138, lithograph of a pastel copy by Way made from the original repr. f.p. 26.

Books, General

  • Prettejohn, Elizabeth, Art for Art’s Sake: Aestheticism in Victorian Painting, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 60.

Catalogues 1906-Present


  • Curry, David Park, James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art, New York and London, 1984, pp. 107-10, 291-92, pl. 11.
  • Stubbs, Burns A., Paintings, Pastels, Drawings, Prints and Copper Plates by and attributed to American and European Artists, together with a List of Original Whistleriana in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1948, p. 12 (02.138).


  • Paintings in oil and pastel by James McNeill Whistler, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1910 (cat. no. 15).
  • Exhibition, University of Michigan Club, in C.L. Freer's house, Detroit, 1914 (cat. no. 12).
  • Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915 (cat. no. 266).
  • Glazer, Lee, The Lost Symphony: Whistler and the Perfection of Art, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2016.

Journals 1906-Present

  • Hobbs, Susan, 'A Connoisseur's Vision: The American Collection of Charles Lang Freer', American Art Review, vol. 4, August 1977, pp. 76-101, at p. 90.


  • Freer Gallery of Art website at
  • The Lost Symphony: Whistler and the Perfection of Art, ('This is an exhibition about a painting that does not exist. A rescued fragment of the large painting, numerous figure studies, and the frame that Whistler decorated specifically for the finished work are among the tantalizing clues that hint at the masterpiece that might have been.') website at


  • Revillon, Joseph Whistler, Draft Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of J. McN. Whistler, [ca 1945-1955], Glasgow University Library (cat. no. 256).


  • Chisaburo, Yamada, (ed.), Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium, (Committee for the Year 2001), Tokyo 1980.
  • Parkerson, Sarah Lawrence, Variations in Gold: The Stylistic Development of the Picture Frames used by James McNeill Whistlers, PhD thesis, University of Glasgow, 2007.

Last updated: 23rd November 2020 by Margaret