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

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Sketch of a Girl

According to E. B. Haskell (quoted by Cary), Sketch of a Girl was painted in Venice 1879/1880, and given by Whistler in Venice to the landscape painter William Graham (1841-1910). A note on the back reads 'Sketch from a Model in Venice painted by J. McNeil [sic] Whistler about 1882 - Wm Graham'. 1

Although William Graham was acquainted with Whistler in Venice 1879/1880, there is no mention of such a painting in his correspondence with Whistler, although Whistler did ask Graham to take care of 'these odd canvases' when he left Venice. 2

Sketch of a Girl, Private collection, photograph 1974
Sketch of a Girl, Private collection, photograph 1974

Technically, with areas of thick impasto, it is not consistent with Whistler's work at that time. 3 Indeed it is not at all consistent with his work at any time.


1: Cary 1907[more], p. 145 (cat. no. 8).

2: Whistler to W. Graham, [7/14 November 1880], GUW #01780.

3: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 215).

Last updated: 10th November 2019 by Margaret