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

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Pink and Opal: Harbour


  • 1884: possibly bought by Miss van der Weyer – Louise Marie [Augusta?] van de Weyer (1851-1896) , London;
  • By 1920: 'Marine' bought by Knoedler's, London and New York art dealers (a/c LC 144);
  • 1920: sold by Knoedler's to 'Weyer', New York, 29 September 1920 (a/c #70964).
  • Date unknown: William Macbeth Gallery, New York.
  • Date unknown: J. J. Ryan (dates unknown) , and thence by family descent;
  • 2007: sold at auction, Sotheby's, New York, 28 November 2007 (lot 53);
  • 2008: given by Peter H. Lunder (b. 1933) and Paula Crane Lunder (b. 1935) to Colby College Museum.

Messrs Dowdeswell's records of the 1884 exhibition do not mention a purchaser for Pink and Opal: Harbour [YMSM 272], but they do record that Miss Van de Weyer bought Blue and Opal: Herring Fleet [YMSM 273] from the exhibition. 1

                    Pink and Opal: Harbour, photograph, 1920
Pink and Opal: Harbour, photograph, 1920

In 1920 Knoedler's recorded a 'Marine' size 8 3/4 x 4 7/8" as from the collection of Miss van de Weyer, sister of Lady Esher and the daughter of Sylvain van de Weyer (1802-1874), and noted that it had also been in the collection of Mrs Story, widow of Julian Russell Story (1850-1919). Knoedler's recorded it, confusingly, as also being sold to 'Weyer'. An old photograph from the Knoedler archives (reproduced above) shows this to have been Pink and Opal: Harbour [YMSM 272].

The provenance is not absolutely clear: it is not certain when the title and early history of this painting became confused with that of Blue and Opal: Herring Fleet [YMSM 273]. Andrew McLaren Young (1913-1975) certainly assumed that the painting owned by Miss Van de Weyer and later at Knoedler's was Blue and Opal: Herring Fleet [YMSM 273], and the 1980 catalogue raisonné published it under that title. However press reviews written in 1884 show that Blue and Opal: Herring Fleet was a different subject.

At the auction in 2007, The City Review reported: 'a lovely oil on panel ... has a modest estimate of $300,000 to $400,000. It sold for $361,000.' 2


  • 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat. no. 12) as 'Pink and opal – Harbour'.
  • Annual Exhibition of Sketches, Pictures & Photography: A Loan Collection of Pictures by Mr Whistler ..., Dublin Sketching Club, Dublin, 1884 (cat. no. 241) as 'Pink and opal – Harbour'.

The Morning Post described this painting as one of several 'productions crude, immature, and, like King Richard, "but half made up." ' 3


1: Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell to Whistler, [July 1885/1886], GUW #00867.

2: 'The City Review article on the Fall 2007 American Paintings', online at

3: 'Messrs Dowdeswell's Gallery', Morning Post, London, 24 May 1884, p. 5. GUL Whistler PC 12, p. 17. Quoted in Myers 2003 [more] , p. 86.

Last updated: 17th April 2021 by Margaret