Several possible titles have been suggested:
'Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso' is the preferred title.
A view of a harbour, in horizontal format. The grey/green sea is calm under a darkening blue sky scattered with grey clouds, slightly warmed by a sunset glow. There are half a dozen tall sailing ships with sails spread in the bay, and many more ships are seen in the distance at right, inshore.
Valparaiso, an important port on the coast of Chile, South America. 14
Discussing the political and naval situation at the time, Dr Frances Fowle records:
'We know from contemporary accounts that the Americans sent one iron-clad turreted ship and five steamers, and that the French and British fleets included frigates and gunboats. ... Whistler has depicted mainly sailing ships, some of which have started to unfurl their sails, ready to move towards the open sea. The only clearly visible flag is the French tricolour in the centre of the composition, silhouetted against the gathering violet and purple clouds.' 15
1: 85th exhibition Salon de 1867, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1867, 1st edition (cat. no. 71) and 2nd edition (cat. no. 78).
3: Photograph, G. A. Lucas Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art.
5: 1st exhibition, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Champs de Mars, Paris, 1891 (cat. no. 937).
6: VI. Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Königlicher Glaspalast, Munich, 1892 (cat. no. 1950c).
7: Nocturnes, Marines & Chevalet Pieces, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892 (cat. no. 13).
10: III Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia, Venice, 1899 (cat. no. 59).
11: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the late James McNeill Whistler, First President of The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, New Gallery, Regent Street, London, 1905 (cat. no. 93).
12: Œuvres de James McNeill Whistler, Palais de l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1905 (cat. no. 59).
Last updated: 22nd May 2021 by Margaret