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

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Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville


                Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville dates from Whistler's stay in Trouville with his model Joanna Hiffernan (b. ca 1843-d.1886) and the painter Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) in 1865, and shows Courbet himself on the shore. 1

The dates of Whistler's visit to Trouville are not precisely known. He was still in London in mid-August 1865, but he probably left England shortly afterwards. He was certainly in Trouville in October, and on 20 October wrote to Lucas (Luke) Alexander Ionides (1837-1924) from the Hôtel du Bras d'Or:

'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 - This is a charming place - although now the season is quite over and every one has left - but the effects of sea and sky are finer than during the milder weather.' 2

On 26 October he wrote again to Ionides, 'I am finishing some important pictures which will keep me here until about the 10th of Nov … My picture I think you will like very much - The Sea is splendid at this moment but I am anxious to get back.' 3

He was back by the end of November, and indeed on 25 November his mother wrote that she was 'glad to hear of your last sea views', which had been described to her by Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937). 4

Notes:

1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 64).

2: GUW #11310.

3: GUW #11311.

4: A. M. Whistler to J. Whistler, 25 November [1865], GUW #06526.

Last updated: 26th November 2020 by Margaret