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

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Nocturne: The Solent

Nocturne: The Solent probably dates from 1871 or 1872.


                Nocturne: The Solent, Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art
Nocturne: The Solent, Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art

The painting was dated 1866 by earlier writers, including Andrew McLaren Young (1913-1975), and thought to date from Whistler's trip to Valparaiso. 1 It was therefore assumed to predate the Nocturnes of the 1870s. 2 However, Robert H. Getscher has pointed out that several factors point to a later date, and to a different site, probably the Solent, which is the waterway between the Isle of Wight and Southampton. 3


                Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Chelsea, Tate Britain
Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Chelsea, Tate Britain

Stylistically a date of 1871/1872 is indicated. 4 The Nocturne shows similarities in colour and handling to Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea [YMSM 103]. This still means that it is among the earliest as well as one of the most atmospheric Nocturnes.

Notes:

1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 71).

2: Exhibition catalogue London and New York 1960 [more] (cat. no. 16), Exhibition catalogue London, Paris & Washington, DC, 1994 [more] (cat. no. 43), and Exhibition catalogue Atlanta, After Whistler, 2003 [more] (cat. no. 3) discuss this work as dating from 1866 and presaging the Nocturnes of the 1870s.

3: Getscher 2004 [more] , pp. 13-14.

4: It was dated 'circa 1872-74' in the Exhibition catalogue New York 1947 [more] (cat. no. 4).

Last updated: 2nd December 2020 by Margaret