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


Nocturne in Blue and Gold


  • Unknown.


  • 1875: Second Annual Exhibition of Modern Pictures in Oil and Water Colour, Royal Pavilion Gallery, Brighton, 1875 (cat. no. 98) as 'Nocturne in blue and gold'.
  • 1876: possibly 12th Exhibition, Society of French Artists, Deschamps Gallery, London, 1876 (cat. no. 56) as 'Nocturne in Blue and Gold'.

The price in the Brighton exhibition was quite high, at £420. The critic of the Brighton Gazette on 9 September 1875 classed this painting with Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge [YMSM 140] and commented:

'Everyone will be struck by two pictures, all blue, almost monotone, which will stand alone, and not a few perchance, may be inclined to ridicule them. Some may think that a guinea would be poorly spent over such works, and will be amazed when they find one of them valued at ... four hundred guineas!'

After describing their technique the critic went on to associate both paintings with Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay [YMSM 076]: 'There is scarcely a definite form ... and yet not a stroke out of place.'

The Brighton Herald on 11 September 1875 commented,

'Mr. Whistler uses nothing but blue – light blue and dark blue, with drops of silver and gold for fire. The landscape, of course, is unimpeachable; but then the medium in which it is painted is well nigh unapproachable. It harmonises with nothing near it – is either killed or kills.'

Last updated: 23rd November 2020 by Margaret