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

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Marine: Blue and Grey

Titles

Several possible titles have been suggested:

  • Possibly 'Sea and Storm; grey and green' (1884, Dowdeswell). 1
  • Possibly 'Vert et gris: L’Orage' (1887, Petit). 2
  • 'Seascape' (1904, Copley Society, Boston). 3
  • 'Marine; Blue and Gray' (1947, Macbeth). 4
  • 'Marine: Blue and Grey' (1980, YMSM). 5

The early exhibitions titles, as given above, have not been confirmed.

The first published title, 'Seascape' (1904) was rejected in favour of the 1947 title 'Marine; Blue and Gray', which was adapted in the 1980 catalogue. The spelling was anglicised and punctuation altered: thus the preferred title is 'Marine: Blue and Grey'.

Description


                    Marine: Blue and Grey, Colby College Museum of Art
Marine: Blue and Grey, Colby College Museum of Art

A seascape in horizontal format. It shows a dark stormy sea with rows of breakers rolling into a grey beach under a grey/blue cloudy sky. In the foreground at left is a grassy slope, and below it and to right (cut off by the edge of the panel) a row of small grey houses. On the beach behind the houses there appear to be clusters of people painted very roughly.

Site

Probably the fishing port of St Ives in Cornwall. It was surrounded by green hills and the houses were close together, on terraces and roads sloping steeply down to the sea. 6 A metal label on the painting, with no date or further details, reads 'Sands of Cornwall'.

Notes:

1: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat. no. 36) but see Sea and Storm: Grey and Green [YMSM 283].

2: Exposition Internationale de Peinture et de Sculpture, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1887 (cat. no. 213).

3: Oil Paintings, Water Colors, Pastels and Drawings: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Mr. J. McNeill Whistler, Copley Society, Boston, 1904 (cat. no. 16).

4: Whistler Loan Exhibition, Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1947 (cat. no. 30).

5: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 410).

6: A series of photographs by Francis Frith dating from the 1890s show the town and surrounding area. See, for instance, St Ives, 1890, in Francis Frith website link, and St Ives, General View , website link at http://www.francisfrith.com (acc. 2020).

Last updated: 17th April 2021 by Margaret