1889: possibly bought from Wunderlich, New York art dealer, by
C. A. Miller (dates unknown).
ca 1900: possibly owned by James Staats Forbes (1823-1904).
1914: bought from Knoedler's, New York art dealers, by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), Detroit;
1919: bequeathed by C. L. Freer to the Freer Gallery of Art.
It was exhibited with “Notes” – “Harmonies” – “Nocturnes”, H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, 1889 (cat. no. 27) as 'Grey and Brown The Sad Sea - Dieppe' priced at £35. 1 According to a list of buyers, it was bought from the exhibition by a C. A. Miller, but the sale is annotated 'disappeared'. 2 There are several gaps in the provenance and this sale is not certain.
It was at one time, according to C. L. Freer, in the 'Forbes' collection: possibly he meant James Staats Forbes (1823-1904).
Grey and Brown: The Sad Sea Shore
, photograph, 1913/1914
It was later acquired by Knoedler's, who sold it to C. L. Freer in January 1914 for $2005.
1886: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886 (cat. no. 43) as 'Grey and brown – The Sad Sea Shore'.
1887: possibly Exposition Internationale de Peinture et de Sculpture, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1887 (cat. no. 184) as 'Gris et brun: La Plage'.
1888: III. Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Königlicher Glaspalast, Munich, 1888 (cat. no. 63) as 'Grau und Brun. Ruhige See'.
1889: “Notes” – “Harmonies” – “Nocturnes”, H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, 1889 (cat. no. 27) as 'Grey and Brown The Sad Sea – Dieppe'.
At Dowdeswell's in 1886 it was priced at £35. 3 It was grouped with a number of other small works approved of by the Illustrated London News, on 15 May 1886. However, it was the target selected by one journalist: 'he takes a small canvas, across the middle of which he draws a line, the top he fills in with grey supposed to be sky and sea – the lower half with a dirty drab ... Two or three smudges represent people sitting on the beach.' 4
By the terms of C. L. Freer's bequest to the Freer Gallery of Art, the painting cannot be lent.
1: Catalogue annotated by Whistler, GUL Whistler EC 1889.
2: Hermann Wunderlich and Co. to Whistler, April 1889, GUW #07175.
3: Catalogue annotated by Whistler, GUL Whistler EC 1886.
4: Undated press cutting, labelled 'Morning Post', in GUL Whistler BP III PC, p. 120.