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

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Grand Canal, Venice

Grand Canal, Venice dates from the summer of 1880 when Whistler was in Venice. 1

The Connecticut artist Willis Seaver Adams (1842–1921), a friend of Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909), and follower of Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), met Whistler in Venice, remembered an incident during that summer:

'Once a year, in the summer time, it is the custom of Venetians to go to the Lido . . . to see the sun rise. They leave in the evening ... make a night of it, and Whistler was one of the number. Next day he wished to make a study from our window, the approach to the Grand Canal. Leaving him for a time by himself, upon my return there was a striking study of the view on the easel, and Whistler before the easel asleep. The brushes had fallen from his grasp, and, well charged with fresh paint, were resting in his lap. As he wore white duck trousers, the effect can well be imagined.' 2


1: Dated 1879/1880, YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 221).

2: Article by Adams in the Springfield Republican, quoted in Eddy 1903 [more], p. 92.

Last updated: 10th November 2019 by Margaret