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

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Grey and Gold: High Tide at Pourville


Suggested titles are as follows:

  • Probably ' "Grey & Gold - The high sea", Pourville' (1900, Whistler). 1
  • 'Grey and Gold – High Tide at Pourville' (1901, Goupil). 2
  • 'Grey and Gold: High Tide at Pourville' (1980, YMSM). 3

The preferred title, 'Grey and Gold: High Tide at Pourville', is based on that in the Goupil show, with punctuation regularised to conform with other titles.


                    Grey and Gold: High Tide at Pourville, Freer Gallery of Art
Grey and Gold: High Tide at Pourville, Freer Gallery of Art

A view of the sea from a beach, in horizontal format. A narrow strip of beach runs at a slight diagonal from lower left up to right, where a man and a dog stand near the water's edge. The green sea is rough, with white breakers, under a cloudy sky with patches of blue. There are several small sailing ships on the horizon at right.


Pourville-sur-mer, on the Normandy coast of France, near Dieppe. Whistler was convalescing with his in-laws, the Birnie Philips, at the Pavillon Madeleine, Pourville-sur-Mer, in August 1899. He wrote in the autumn to the artist Albert Ludovici, Jr (1852-1932), praising his own work in contrast to that of Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919):

'September & October are clearly the months for the sea -

I am just beginning to understanding the principle of these things - You know how I always reduce things to principles!

… I could not help thinking of your two French painters who thought they had something new in Renoir! - and who looked with contempt upon le "vieux tableau"! -

"Plein air" indeed! - I should like to show you one or two little panels!' 4


1: Whistler to D. C. Thomson, 17 May 1900, GUW #09602.

2: Spring Exhibition, Goupil Gallery, London, 1901 (cat. no. 32).

3: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 523).

4: [September/October 1899], GUW #08083.

Last updated: 13th November 2020 by Margaret