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

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Dark Blue and Silver


Several possible titles have been suggested:

  • 'Dark Blue and Silver' (1894, Grafton). 1
  • 'Ship in wave – dark blue & Silver' (1894, Whistler). 2
  • 'le Danger. – Bleu fonce et argent' (1894, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts). 3
  • 'Bleu et Violet – en danger' (1894, Whistler). 4
  • 'Symphony in Violet and Blue' (1897, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh). 5
  • 'Symphony in Violet and Blue' (1904, Copley Society, Boston). 6
  • 'Dark Blue and Silver' (1980, YMSM). 7

'Dark Blue and Silver' is the preferred title.


                    Dark Blue and Silver, Hill-Stead Museum
Dark Blue and Silver, Hill-Stead Museum

A seascape in horizontal format, seen from a low, sea-level viewpoint. The sea is dark blue-green with a few white waves, with a sailing boat to right of centre and two distant sails on the horizon. The pale blue sky is scattered with big white and grey clouds.


It was painted at 'at the Isle de Bréha, Brittany', which is off the northernmost point of Brittany. 8 Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920) suggested that, like Violet and Silver: A Deep Sea [YMSM 411] and Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers [YMSM 413], it was 'painted off-shore while the boatman steadied his boat.' 9


1: Fair Women, Grafton Galleries, London, 1894 (cat. no. 49).

2: List, [March 1894], GUW #07457.

3: Exposition Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Champ de Mars, Paris, 1894 (cat. no. 1182).

4: Whistler to A. A. Pope, [12] September 1894, GUW #13069, according to La Farge, John, and August F. Jaccaci (eds), Noteworthy Paintings in American Private Collections, New York, 1909, pp. 30-32.

5: Second Annual Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1897 (cat. no. 234).

6: Oil Paintings, Water Colors, Pastels and Drawings: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Mr. J. McNeill Whistler, Copley Society, Boston, 1904 (cat. no. 30)

7: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 412).

8: Whistler to A. A. Pope, 12 September 1894, GUW #09342.

9: Eddy 1903 [more] , pp. 274-75.

Last updated: 21st November 2020 by Margaret