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

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Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay

1866: Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay dates originally from Whistler's trip to Valparaiso from March to September 1866 but was almost certainly completed in the 1870s. 1 It has been assumed that this was the earliest of Whistler's Nocturnes, 2 but in its early state it was probably not a nocturne at all, but became one as it was reworked over subsequent years.

1874: Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay may be the picture referred to in a letter from Whistler to Alfred Chapman (1839-1917) of Liverpool, on 22 July 1874, 'I had once promised to let Grapel have the first chance at the Valparaiso if I ever finish it.' 3 The reference is to the dealer and collector William Grapel (1822-1887). Stylistically it is likely that the painting was worked on at this time, before being exhibited in the following year.


                Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay, Freer Gallery of Art
Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay, Freer Gallery of Art

1875: It was first exhibited in the Second Annual Exhibition of Modern Pictures in Oil and Water Colour, Royal Pavilion Gallery, Brighton, 1875 (cat. no. 158) as 'Nocturne in blue and silver'.

Notes:

1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 76).

2: For example, in Curry 1984 [more] , p. 119.

3: GUW #11251.

Last updated: 5th June 2021 by Margaret