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

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Grey and Brown: The Sad Sea Shore

Titles

Several possible titles have been suggested:

  • 'Grey and brown – The Sad Sea Shore' (1886, Dowdeswell). 1
  • Possible 'Gris et brun: La Plage' (1887, Petit). 2
  • 'Grau und Brun. Ruhige See' (1888, III. Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Munich). 3
  • 'Grey and Brown The Sad Sea – Dieppe' (1889, Wunderlich). 4
  • 'Grey and Brown: The Sad Sea Shore' (1980, YMSM). 5

'Grey and Brown: The Sad Sea Shore' is the preferred title. This is an unusual, emotive and rather negative title, though it matches the subdued colouring of the chilly scene.

Description


                    Grey and Brown: The Sad Sea Shore, Freer Gallery of Art
Grey and Brown: The Sad Sea Shore, Freer Gallery of Art

A beach scene in horizontal format. Several figures sit in the middle of a beige/brown beach, and others are walking by the shore in the distance at right. The sea beyond is a pale grey.

Site

Painted at Dieppe, on the French coast, a busy port and seaside resort. Whistler visited Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) and his wife there during the autumn of 1885. 6

Notes:

1: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886 (cat. no. 43) (catalogue annotated by Whistler, GUL BP 11).

2: Exposition Internationale de Peinture et de Sculpture, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1887 (cat. no. 184).

3: III. Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Königlicher Glaspalast, Munich, 1888 (cat. no. 63), priced £20 (GUL BP 25).

4: “Notes” – “Harmonies” – “Nocturnes”, H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, 1889 (cat. no. 27).

5: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 330).

6: Dempsey 1966 [more] , p. 32.

Last updated: 31st December 2020 by Margaret