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

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Note in Red: The Siesta


                    Note in Red: The Siesta, Terra Foundation for American Art
Note in Red: The Siesta, Terra Foundation for American Art

One of the most vivid of Whistler's small panels, with rich colour and free, fresh brushstrokes. The paint is at times creamy (as on the pink shawl) and at others the brush is almost dry (as on the patterned sofa, where the pale grey ground forms the background for a variety of slashes and blobs and scrapes of red paint). The face, in profile to right, and hair, pulled up into a bun, are painted more carefully, with a small brush.

The Terra Foundation discusses this painting as follows:

'Quickly and sketchily executed in a nervous series of long brushstrokes, Maud’s recumbent form, enclosed within a voluptuous swathe of dress fabric and upholstery, suggests an unposed moment, a siesta for the weary model, whose voluminous skirt trails carelessly along the floor as she rests with her face turned from the viewer. The setting is unspecified, as if the painting is deliberately unfinished; above the back edge of the sofa, the stylized butterfly, … asserts the reality of the flat panel surface on which the artist has pictured the scene.' 1


40.0 x 47.6 cm (15 3/4 x 18 3/4").


1: Terra Foundation for American Art website at

Last updated: 2nd April 2021 by Margaret