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

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Bleu et argent: La Mer, Jersey

Bleu et argent: La Mer, Jersey dates from 1881. 1

Note in Blue and Opal: Jersey, Freer Gallery of Art
Note in Blue and Opal: Jersey, Freer Gallery of Art

It is possible that Bleu et argent: La Mer, Jersey is in fact a watercolour, and might be identified with Note in Blue and Opal: Jersey [M.0857].

Whistler visited Guernsey and Jersey in October 1881. On 9 October he urged Matthew Robinson Elden (1839-1885) to join him, saying 'I propose to be away for 10 days or a couple of weeks.' 2 Later he described the discomforts of the trip to his sister-in-law, Helen ('Nellie') Euphrosyne Whistler (1849-1917):

'... I ceased a career only fit for an accrobat [sic] and came over to Jersey remembering that you had said it was comparatively flatter! - Well it's flat - or a bit of it is - and besides I run no more risks on pinacles [sic] - but the weathercocks in the place have played me another trick and gone round, the lot of them, to the East - North East by East! - and awful it is - cold as Venice in winter - and everything hard as nails ... not a single picture have I managed yet - though I have tried ever so hard - but that you know is no comfort for - have I not written it! - 'mere industry is the virtue of the duffer'! - and poor as I am - well you know - how is my journey to be payed [sic] for! - It is true that I have partly discovered a little game in watercolors that may possibly be worked into one pound or so … However I shall still try - for a few days longer ...

I have had the folly to bring with me lots of boxes and traps enough to produce a Gallery of chef d'oeuvres!' 3


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 232a).

2: 9 October [1881], GUW #12818.

3: [17 October 1881], GUW #06700.

Last updated: 9th November 2019 by Margaret