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

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Harmony in Blue: The Duet


  • 1914: bought by Rhode Island School of Design in May.

The early provenance is uncertain. In 1914 L. Earle Rowe (d. 1937), Director of Rhode Island School of Design, stated that this painting was given by Whistler to his half-sister, Deborah Delano Haden (1825-1908), and seen in her collection by John James Cowan (1846-1936), Edinburgh, who persuaded Whistler to give her another painting in its place so that he could buy it, after which 'it remained [in Cowan's collection] for a number of years until it lately came to America.' 1

However, Whistler did not mention it in his correspondence with J. J. Cowan or with Deborah Haden and the history of Harmony in Blue: The Duet [YMSM 196] after 1878 is therefore unsubstantiated until its appearance in 1914.


It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime.


1: Rowe 1914 [more].

Last updated: 12th November 2019 by Margaret