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

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Sea and Rain

Sea and Rain is dated '65' on the canvas, and was painted during Whistler's stay in Trouville, probably between October and November 1865. 1

                Sea and Rain, Museum of Art, University of Michigan
Sea and Rain, Museum of Art, University of Michigan

On 20 October 1865 Whistler wrote to Lucas (Luke) Alexander Ionides (1837-1924) from Trouville, 'I am staying here to finish two or three sea pieces which I wish to bring back with me - I believe they will be fine - and worth quite anything of the kind I have ever done.' 2 On 26 October Whistler told Ionides that he planned to stay until about 10 November 1865, adding, 'My pictures I think you will like very much - The Sea is splendid at this moment but I am anxious to get back.' 3

Sea and Rain is very similar in composition and treatment to another Trouville seascape of 1865, Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville [YMSM 064].

Sea and Rain was seen by William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919) on 31 March 1867, when he recommended Whistler to submit it to the Royal Academy. 4 Whistler apparently agreed, and it was exhibited at the 99th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1867 (cat. no. 670) as 'Sea and Rain'.


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 65); see also Pennell 1908 [more] , vol. 1, pp. 137, 144; vol. 2, p. 127.

2: GUW #11310.

3: GUW #11311.

4: Rossetti 1903 [more] , pp. 222, 228.

Last updated: 11th November 2021 by Margaret