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

Home  > Catalogue > Exhibitions > London_1896a (related works) > Search Display

Black and red


  • 1884: bought from Messrs Dowdeswell by Edward John Poole (b. ca 1848) , of 2 Sussex Gardens, London.
  • By 1896: owned by Alexander Arnold Hannay (1858-1927) until at least 1905.
  • 1926: with Scott and Fowles, New York dealers.
  • 1944: possibly 'Girl in Black' sold by W. Macbeth, New York dealers, to the Babcock Galleries, New York dealers, in January.
  • By 1959: owned by Charles Crawford Henderson (d. 2016) and his wife, New Orleans;
  • 1970: bought by Knoedler, New York dealers, (#8417) and sold to Paul Mellon (1907-1999) on 21 December;
  • 1991: given by Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon to the National Gallery of Art.

There are considerable gaps in the known provenance from 1905 on. Further details are given in MacDonald 1995 (cat. rais.) [more] (cat. no. 936).


  • 1884: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat. no. 15) as 'Black and Red'.
  • 1888: possibly III. Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Königlicher Glaspalast, Munich, 1888 (cat. no. 30) as 'Arrangement in Black'.
  • 1896: Loan Collection of Watercolour Drawings, Guildhall Corporation of London Art Gallery, London, 1896 (cat. no. 101) as 'A Drawing'.
  • 1905: Œuvres de James McNeill Whistler, Palais de l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1905 (cat. no. 87) as 'Noir et or. Madge O'Donoghue'.

It was listed in a draft of the Dowdeswell catalogue of 1884 as 'Black and feather - Madge' and priced at £100. 1 It was praised by several art critics including Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921) and Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942). 2

The Irish painter, Walter Frederick Osborne (1859-1903), a friend of Whistler, sketched this watercolour when it was exhibited at the Guildhall. 3


1: L. J. Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress,

2: Wedmore 1884 [more] ; ‘An Enthusiast’, [Sickert, W. R.], 'Mr Whistler and His Art', The Artist and Journal of Home Culture, vol. 5, 1 June 1884, pp. 199-201. See also Anon., 'Messrs Dowdeswell's Gallery', The Morning Post, London, 24 May 1884, p. 5.

3: National Gallery of Ireland, PD 4007 TX 1, website at, drawing by Osborne repr. See also R. Anderson, 'Whistler in Dublin,' Irish Arts Review, vol. 3, no. 3, Autumn 1985, pp. 46-47, drawing by Osborne repr.

Last updated: 7th February 2021 by Margaret