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

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Blue and Gold: The Schooner

Provenance

  • By 1904: Annie Burr Jennings (1855-1939), New York and Fairfield, Connecticut;
  • 1939: on her death, Fairfield, Connecticut, the painting passed to her estate.
  • 1990: sold at auction, Christie's, New York, 23 May 1990 (Lot 43);
  • 1990/2003: Private collection, Washington, DC.

The early provenance is unknown. However, despite the disparity in the title, it is possible that Blue and Gold: The Schooner [YMSM 276] is Green and Gold: The Sloop [YMSM 368], an unlocated painting that was sold by Whistler to Siegfried Bing (1838-1905) in 1897.

Miss Jennings was well travelled but it is not known if she visited Europe during Whistler's lifetime, though she did apply for a passport on 2 April 1894, when she was living at 48 Park Avenue, New York. The butterfly signature dates from the late 1890s or later and suggests that the picture was exhibited and/or sold at a late date.

Exhibitions

  • 1884: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat. no. 32) as 'Blue and gold – The Schooner'.
  • 1884: Annual Exhibition of Sketches, Pictures & Photography: A Loan Collection of Pictures by Mr Whistler ..., Dublin Sketching Club, Dublin, 1884 (cat. no. 252) as 'Blue and gold – The Schooner'.
  • 1890: Possibly Exposition Générale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1890 (cat. no. 844a) as 'La chaloupe'.
  • 1904: Oil Paintings, Water Colors, Pastels and Drawings: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of Mr. J. McNeill Whistler, Copley Society, Boston, 1904 (cat. no. 77) as 'The Schooner'.

In 1884, a review by Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) praised this among several oils noted for their 'Beauty of handling and high finish.' 1

Miss Jennings lent the painting to the 1904 Boston exhibition. The size of the painting – 4 ½ x 6 ½ inches – the support, which is given as canvas but which was actually wood, its size when framed – 12 ¾ x 15 ¼ (32.4 x 38.7) – and insurance valuation of $1500, are given in a memorandum that is enclosed in a copy of the Boston Memorial Exhibition catalogue, which was originally owned by Frank Gair Macomber (1849-1941) and is now in the Boston Public Library. The memorandum also notes that the painting should be returned to Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), New York art dealer.

Notes:

1: ‘An Enthusiast’, [Sickert, W. R.], 'Mr Whistler and His Art', The Artist and Journal of Home Culture, vol. 5, 1 June 1884, pp. 199-201.

Last updated: 7th June 2021 by Margaret