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

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Variations in Violet

Variations in Violet may date from 1884. 1 It was first shown in Whistler's one-man exhibition of 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1884 (cat no. 30) as 'Variations in Violet'.

It was, unusually for Whistler, a flower painting. In the late summer of 1884 (after the closure of the exhibition) Whistler wrote to Charles William Dowdeswell (1832-1915), 'I am greatly pleased with you - I have a great opinion of your understanding now that you like the flower pieces!' 2 Unfortunately there is no further record of the 1884 flower painting.


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 301).

2: 12/14 [August 1884], GUW #08613.

Last updated: 11th November 2020 by Margaret