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

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The Chelsea Girl

The Chelsea Girl probably dates from 1884. 1

The Chelsea Girl, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
The Chelsea Girl, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

On 29 June 1884 The Whitehall Review reported that Whistler was painting 'a veritable daughter of the people, with all the defiance of an offspring of the proletaire in her attitude', which may have been this portrait. 2

It was painted, according to Whistler, in 'one afternoon', and was given to Alexander Johnston Cassatt (1839-1906). 3

According to Sidney Starr (1857-1925), it was sent as a present to Alexander Johnston Cassatt in Philadelphia in 1886 when Whistler finally delivered Arrangement in Black, No. 8: Portrait of Mrs Cassatt [YMSM 250], which had been started some three years earlier. 4


1: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 314).

2: Press cutting in GUL Whistler PC 7, p. 12.

3: Whistler to E. G. Kennedy, [21 September 1893], GUW #09710.

4: Starr 1908 [more], at p. 534; and Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, London and Philadelphia, (6th edition) 1920, p. 257. See also Whistler to A. J. Cassatt, [1885/1886], GUW #09014.

Last updated: 4th June 2021 by Margaret