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

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Crimson note: Carmen


Several possible titles have been suggested:

  • 'Crimson Note, Carmen' (1895, Society of Portrait Painters). 1
  • 'A Note in Carmine' (1898, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts). 2
  • 'Carmine' (1904, Copley Society, Boston). 3
  • 'Crimson note: Carmen' (1980, YMSM). 4

'Crimson Note, Carmen' is the preferred title.


                    Crimson note: Carmen, Hill-Stead Museum
Crimson note: Carmen, Hill-Stead Museum

A head-and-shoulders portrait in vertical format. It shows a young woman in three-quarter view to right. She wears a reddish-brown shawl over her dark hair and shoulders, with a white blouse underneath. Her eyes are dark brown and she has a heavy fringe. The background is brown. A large butterfly is painted in black on her sleeve.


Carmen Rossi (fl. 1880/1901). Whistler painted several portraits of her, including Rose et or: La Napolitaine [YMSM 505], Violet and Rose: Carmen qui rit [YMSM 506], and Harmony in Rose and Green: Carmen [YMSM 507].


1: 5th exhibition, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1895 (cat. no. 16).

2: Sixty-Seventh Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1898 (cat. no. 460).

3: Oil Paintings, Water Colors, Pastels and Drawings: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Mr. J. McNeill Whistler, Copley Society, Boston, 1904 (cat. no. 38).

4: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 441).

Last updated: 21st November 2020 by Margaret