It is with great sadness that we report the death of Robin Spencer yesterday. Robin was co-author of the 1980 catalogue raisonné of the paintings of J.McN.Whistler, and had joined the editorial board of our Whistler Paintings project. He was enthusiastic about our project and immensely supportive.
Over the years Robin was curator of exhibitions including the splendid 1969 Whistler exhibition in Berlin, and he wrote several important scholarly articles on the art market and the work of Whistler, as well as publications on 19th and 20th century art including the work of his good friend Eduardo Paolozzi. After completing his MLitt at the Courtauld Robin worked as a research assistant with Margaret MacDonald under Professor McLaren Young at the University of Glasgow, and later as a lecturer at the University of St Andrews.
He was a fine scholar, an inspiring lecturer, a good colleague and a great friend. We shall miss him very much, and hope the catalogue will prove a worthy and lasting memorial.
We are delighted that the wonderful works acquired by Colby Museum of Art in Maine, as a result of the generous gift of Paula and Peter Lunder, are about to be presented in a new exhibition: Whistler and the World. We look forward to seeing it at a colloquium mid October.
And here in Glasgow we are making huge progress with cataloguing existing Whistlers, and in locating some that had gone missing. We have drafts of some 300 entries but a lot of research has still to be done, particularly on technical art history, Whistler letters, and recent exhibitions and writings on Whistler.
100 days, 100 catalogue entries drafted! 1 painting deleted (it turned out to be a watercolour), one added (its a secret...), several re-dated (one of these, by 20 years!), some re-named. It has been an interesting time, organising research and images and designing the website. Watch this space!
Professor Emerita Margaret MacDonald, as project director, and Graeme Cannon, computer consultant, have been working towards the project for several months, indeed off and on for several years. Now we have appointed two new part-time members of staff: Dr Dr Grischka Petri, University of Bonn, as Research Associate, and Carolyn Alexander, as Administrative Assistant. An intern, Alicia Hughes, is also joining the team. Welcome everyone!
The website for the project The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler is launched in December 2014, in time for Christmas. This is an exciting moment! What is visible is only temporary, the biography and front pages that indicate the scope of the project. Hidden as yet, but taking shape, are huge image banks, lists of exhibitions and other essential data, and the first fifty catalogue entries. Which will probably be re-written and re-organised several times.
Work on the project The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler is now underway - September 2014. Posts are advertised and applications pouring in. Graeme Cannon is setting up the website, perfecting the template for catalogue entries, and Margaret MacDonald trying out the organisation of all the old and new documentary material. Immediately it becomes clear that many works will be re-dated. A lot of work to do here!
Grant applications submitted for an on-line catalogue of Whistler's paintings ...
The Lunder Foundation has awarded the Whistler Paintings Project a generous grant, which means we can confirm that work on the project can go ahead. We still seek further funding, but we are very happy indeed with this support. Many thanks to all involved at the Lunder Foundation and the American Alumni of Glasgow University, and above all to Peter and Paula Lunder for their wonderful support!
Harmony in Green and Amber: A Draped Study, 1896/1899, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow