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

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The Girl in Red

The Girl in Red may date from 1884. 1

The technique and butterfly suggest a date in the mid-1880s.

It may have been the painting mentioned in The Whitehall Review on 29 June 1884, when the paper reported that Whistler was at work on the portrait of 'a little patrician child, in red, standing in grave, infantile pride against a deep red curtain.' 2 It is not clear from this description if this referred to a full or half-length portrait, and therefore the painting described by The Whitehall Review has been caalogued separately, as Portrait of a Girl [YMSM 311].

The Girl in Red, Private collection
The Girl in Red, Private collection
Study in Brown, Muskegon Museum of Art
Study in Brown, Muskegon Museum of Art

In any case, it is difficult to be sure of the date, and it may date from some time later. There are similarities to later portraits of young girls, such as Study in Brown [YMSM 313], which date from the 1890s.


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 312).

2: Press cutting in GUL Whistler P/C 6, p. 12.

Last updated: 2nd January 2021 by Margaret