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

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Chelsea Houses


  • 1896: sold by the Goupil Gallery, London, to Joshua Montgomery Sears (1854–1905) , Boston;
  • 1905: passed by family descent to Herbert Montgomery Sears (d. 1942) , Boston.
  • 1957: with Knoedler, New York art dealers;
  • Before 1971: bought by William F. Davidson (d. 1973) , art dealer, of Knoedler's, New York;
  • 1973-1975: with W. F. Davidson's estate;
  • 1975: sold at auction, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, 12 December 1975 (lot 78), and bought by Eugene Victor Thaw (d. 2018) , New York dealer, on behalf of Agnew's, London art dealers, for $4250;
  • 1976: sold by Agnew's to Stanford University, gift of the Committee for Art.

It was Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) who noted in his diary in 1902 that Goupil, London dealers, had sold 'Street in Chelsea' to the Boston collector in 1896. 1 It was lent by J. M. Sears to the Whistler Memorial exhibition in Boston in 1904 (cat. no. 10) and by Mrs J. M. Sears to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in October 1905. On J. M. Sears' death it passed by family descent to H. M. Sears, but it is not clear what happened to it after that. On his death in 1942, his collection was sold at auction by Parke-Bernet, New York, 17 October 1942, but this painting was not in the sale.

It reappeared in 1957 when it was lent by Knoedler's to an exhibition in Pittsburgh, Utica et al., 1957-1958 (cat. no. 48) and thereafter the provenance is straightforward.


  • 1904: Oil Paintings, Water Colors, Pastels and Drawings: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Mr. J. McNeill Whistler, Copley Society, Boston, 1904 (cat. no. 10) as 'Chelsea Houses'.


1: [1902], Diaries, Bk 12, Freer Gallery Archives.

Last updated: 22nd October 2020 by Margaret