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

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Nocturne: Blue and Gold – St Mark's, Venice

Technique


                    Nocturne: Blue and Gold – St Mark's, Venice, National Museum of Wales
Nocturne: Blue and Gold – St Mark's, Venice, National Museum of Wales

Painted very thinly, the technique probably involving rubbing down to blur the image. However, a few highlights and architectural details are picked out clearly with a small brush and liquid, creamy paint.

Conservation History

On 23 September 1891, David Croal Thomson (1855-1930) of Goupil, London dealers, wrote to Whistler that the 'Venice-scene' would be sent by Stephen Richards (1844-1900), Whistler's picture restorer, to Paris. 1

It had been filthy, Whistler told Robert de Montesquiou, describing it as 'une Nocturne, St Marc que vous ne connaissez pas - quoique vous l'avez souvent regardé dans l'atelier - mais elle était dans un fort mauvais état - c'est à dire sale et négligée - et j'avais cessé de la connaître moi-même. Maintenant elle est superbe!' 2


                    Nocturne: Blue and Gold – St Mark's, Venice, photograph, Goupil Album, 1892, GUL MS Whistler PH5/2
Nocturne: Blue and Gold – St Mark's, Venice, photograph, Goupil Album, 1892, GUL MS Whistler PH5/2

A photograph taken in 1892 shows it in its 'superb' cleaned condition.

Frame

Whistler wanted a new frame made by Frederick Henry Grau (1859-1892) for his retrospective exhibition at Goupil's in 1892. 3

Notes:

1: GUW #05678.

2: Whistler to Montesquiou, [20 November 1891], GUW #11554.

3: Whistler to D. C. Thomson, [26 February 1892], GUW #08217.

Last updated: 16th December 2020 by Margaret