Whistler's biographers, the Pennells, report:
'He made good use of his time in Valparaiso, and painted the three pictures of the harbour which are known and two others which have disappeared. These he gave to the steward, or the purser of the ship, to bring home, and the purser kept them. Once they were seen in his rooms, or house, in London by some one who recognised Whistler's work. "Why, they must be by Whistler!" he said. "Who's Whistler?" asked the purser. "An artist," said the other. "Oh, no," said the purser, "they were painted by a gentleman." The purser started back for South America, and took them with him. "And then a tidal wave met the ship and swept off the purser, the cabin and the Whistlers." ' 1
Whistler was involved in commissions for the London banker W. C. Alexander from 1870 onwards, and it is possible that he left The Morning after the Revolution, Valparaiso with Alexander during that time, although it is more likely that it was left there at the time of Whistler's bankruptcy in 1879 to avoid the necessity of selling or destroying it. It could even have been left with Alexander at a later date, since they remained on good terms through the 1890s.
Paintings or a painting called 'Valparaiso' were sold at auction in Christie's, London, on 24 July 1878 (lot 78) and 30 June 1883 (lot 252) and bought in by Furber & Price, and Allingham, respectively. It is most likely that these paintings were Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso [YMSM 073], and Symphony in Grey and Green: The Ocean [YMSM 072], respectively, although it is just possible that one or both sales refer to The Morning after the Revolution, Valparaiso.
In a list Whistler made of his pictures in 1886 or 1887 only three Valparaiso pictures were recorded, 'Valparaiso - Twilight -Valparaiso - grey rain ... Nocturne Blue & Silver. Old Hill - Valparaiso.' 2 These are identified as Symphony in Grey and Green: The Ocean [YMSM 072], Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso [YMSM 073], and Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay [YMSM 076]. However, neither The Morning after the Revolution, Valparaiso nor Sketch for 'Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay' [YMSM 074] are mentioned, possibly because he did not think them exhibitable.
In 1903 Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) visited W. C. Alexander in London and saw a 'Sketch of the Valparaiso shown at Chicago', which had been 'left by Mr Whistler and never sent for.' 3 Freer reported this to Whistler's ward and executrix, Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) and she asked Alexander to return it, which he did.
It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime.
By the terms of the gift made by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), to the University of Glasgow in 1935, it is not lendable.
Last updated: 20th October 2020 by Margaret