Study in Brown dates from the 1890s, probably between 1894 and 1896. 1 It is dated partly from the butterfly signature, but that is not conclusive.
It was dated circa 1884 in the 1980 catalogue raisonné, by comparison with the pose and technique of The Girl in Red [YMSM 312], but unfortunately neither portrait is easy to date.
It has recently been suggested that it was another portrait of the model for The Little Rose of Lyme Regis [YMSM 449] painted in 1896. The museum website comments:
'A Study in Rose and Brown was painted shortly before the artist’s death in 1903. Whistler met the subject, Rosie Rendall, during a trip to the village of Lyme Regis in Dorset. The painting bears all the hallmarks of Whistler – the atmospheric handling of tone and color, a flat, almost decorative picture plane, and the simple but elegant rendering.' 2
In technique, this is not impossible, but the identity of the model is in question.
The technique and pose can also be compared to another girl's portrait, La Toison rouge [YMSM 501], which is dated 1896/1900. However, it is very hard to be definitive!
Last updated: 7th December 2020 by Margaret