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

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Parasol; red note


  • ca 1900: probably taken from Whistler's studio by Carmen Rossi (b. ca 1878 ;
  • 1903: sold at auction, Drouot, Paris, 25 November 1903 (lot 2, repr.) 'La Femme à l'Ombrelle', bought by 'Anson';
  • 1903: with William Stephen Marchant (1868-1925) , art dealer, London.
  • Date unknown: said by Knoedler's to have been in the collection of Jules Chavasse (1858-1919), Paris.
  • 1922: sold at auction, Lair Dubreuil, Paris, 22 June 1922 (lot 50) bought by Knoedler's, New York art dealers;
  • 1926: sold on 31 December to Charles S. Carstairs (1865-1928), New York art dealer.
  • 2015: sold at auction, Leslie Hindman, Chicago, 25 September 2015 (lot 391) as 'Parasol; red note';
  • 2015: bought by Thomas Colville (n/a) , Fine Art, New Haven and New York.

See MacDonald 1995 (cat. rais.) [more] (cat. no. 957); the provenance has been revised and updated.


  • 1884: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat. no. 65) as 'Parasol; red note'.
  • 1889: probably New English Art Club, Dudley Gallery, London, 1889 (cat. no. 19) as `Rose and Red'.
  • 1903: probably Watercolours, Pastels, Drawings in Black and White, Sculptures and Bronzes By British and Foreign Artists Including A Selection of Works by H. B. Brabazon, and A Group of Works by the late James McNeill Whistler, W. Marchant & Co., Goupil Gallery, London, 1903 (cat. no. 167) and 1904 (cat. no. 6) as 'Femme à l'Ombrelle'.

Critics in 1884 were unhappy about the model's nudity: the Kensington News of 29 May 1884, for instance, commented 'I don't admire the young lady who considers a parasol full dress costume.' 1

It is likely but not absolutely certain that the same pastel, reworked, was that shown at the New English Art Club, but several art critics responded favourably to the reworked pastel as exhibited in 1889. 2 The Daily Telegraph of 19 April 1889, for instance, praised:

'the graceful, delicate girl draped in rose, with a red `note' in the shape of falling drapery round her head, a little thing that might have been produced thousands of years ago in Etruria had but the Etruscans gone in for fantastic pastel instead of pottery.'

On the other hand, one review, in the Birmingham Daily Post of 15 April 1889, considered it 'not equal to his reputation.' Furthermore, the Pall Mall Gazette of 16 April 1889 apparently considered it to be a nude, and could not see 'how his use of it can, as it stands, be defended.'


1: See also Wedmore 1884 [more] ; Standard, London, 19 May 1884; Fun, 4 June 1884.

2: The News of the World, London, 14 April 1889; The Daily Telegraph, London, 19 April 1889; Glasgow Herald, Glasgow, 19 April 1889; Pictorial World, London, 25 April 1889.

Last updated: 23rd May 2021 by Margaret