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

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Blue and Silver: Trouville

Composition

Pentimenti show that there were originally two figures on the beach to left of the rocks at lower right, the heads just visible under the surf.

Technique


                    Blue and Silver: Trouville, Freer Gallery of Art
Blue and Silver: Trouville, Freer Gallery of Art

As with Sea and Rain [YMSM 065], the size of the canvas corresponds quite closely with that of the French 'toile de vingt', and was probably acquired in France. Sky and sea were painted with fairly thick paint, with long strokes from left to right on the sea, skipping over the canvas and leaving bare areas between brushstrokes, conveying breaking waves at the edge of the beach. Shorter, more blurred, strokes were used for the sky.

Conservation History


                    Blue and Silver: Trouville, reproduction, n.d.
Blue and Silver: Trouville, reproduction, n.d.

                    Blue and Silver: Trouville, photograph, n.d.
Blue and Silver: Trouville, photograph, n.d.

Unknown. One early photo shows considerable abrasion at the edges, which has been repaired to some extent. There is some craquelure on the sky.

Frame

  • 1865: the style and whereabouts of previous frames are unknown.
  • 1892: frame made by F. H. Grau, probably during preparations for the Goupil Gallery exhibition. [FD] 92.7 x 105.4 cm (36 ½ x 41 ½"), [MW] 17.7 cm (7"). 1

In 1873 Whistler wrote to C. W. Deschamps, 'I regret immensely having been knocked over by my illness so immediately after seeing you - and so prevented from seeing the picture and doing anything about either its name or its frame.' 2 Deschamps replied, 'The Yacht Race even as it is, is a beautiful picture; for my own part I prefer the frame as it is; rough, simple, ugly even, but it holds a jewel.' 3


                    Blue and Silver: Trouville, Freer Gallery of Art
Blue and Silver: Trouville, Freer Gallery of Art

                    Blue and Silver: Trouville, frame, detail
Blue and Silver: Trouville, frame, detail

                    Blue and Silver: Trouville, frame, detail
Blue and Silver: Trouville, frame, detail

The current frame was probably made in 1892. The verso of the frame was signed by the frame-maker Frederick Henry Grau (1859-1892), who made most of Whistler's frames for the Goupil exhibition.

Notes:

1: Dr Sarah L. Parkerson Day, Report on frames, 2017; see also Parkerson 2007 [more] .

2: [9/22 November 1873], GUW #13487.

3: [10/22 November 1873], GUW #00830.

Last updated: 3rd December 2020 by Margaret