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

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Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux

Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux dates from 1881-1882. 1

1881: It may have been in September 1881 that Whistler wrote to his sister-in-law, 'Mrs Meux came to town and we had up the pictures and slaved away until one of them is supposed to be finished - though it isn't! - and then off she went again.' 2

Alan Summerly Cole (1846-1934) noted progress in his diary:

'1881 ... 26 May. Met Jimmy who is taking a new studio in Tite Street where he is going to paint all the fashionables - views of crowds competing for sittings - carriages along the street ...

26 August. … He is busy painting three portraits of Mrs. Meux.

1882 ... 26 February. To Jimmy's to see his painting of Mrs. Meux. One very fine.' 3

1882: In January 1882 the idea of engraving a portrait of Lady Meux – probably this one – was rejected as economically unrealistic unless the family guaranteed the purchase of a certain number of proofs, or, alternatively, if Henry Graves (1806-1892) thought it viable after seeing it at the Grosvenor Gallery. 4


                Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux, The Frick Collection
Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux, The Frick Collection

It was first exhibited at the VI Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1882 (cat. no. 48).

Notes:

1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 229).

2: J. Whistler to H. E. Whistler, GUW #06694.

3: Ms copy, 27 March 1872-18 April 1885, GUW #13132; transcript with minor variations, GUW #03432.

4: Whistler to M. B. Huish, 23 January 1882, GUW #01139; Whistler to H. Graves, 27 January 1882, GUW #10917; A. Graves to Whistler, 28 January 1882, GUW #01804.

Last updated: 31st December 2020 by Margaret