Green and Violet: Portrait of Mrs Walter Sickert dates from between 1893 and 1894.
1893: The dress, with its slightly puffed half-length over-sleeves, suggests a date of about 1893. It is likely that it was painted in Paris. The Sickerts stayed with the Whistlers in Paris in October or November 1893. 1 Beatrice Philip (Mrs E. W. Godwin, Mrs J. McN. Whistler) (1857-1896) wrote to Arthur Haythorne Studd (1863-1919), 'Mrs Sickert went last Saturday. we are very dull without her! She will be so pleased to see you if you will call - Her address is no 1. The Vale - King's Road Chelsea.' 2
The sofa that appears in the painting belonged to Whistler and also appeared in two lithographs dated 1893, The Draped Figure, Seated c072 and Nude Model, Reclining c073, both drawn in Paris.
1894: Whistler's biographers, the Pennells, date the portrait to 'this period.' 3 The completed painting was exhibited in the Exposition Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Champ de Mars, Paris, 1894 (cat. no. 1185). In April Whistler's wife wrote somewhat cattily to her sister-in-law Helen ('Nellie') Euphrosyne Whistler (1849-1917) that the portrait was flattering:
'It is very pretty - Jimmie has given her beautiful soft brown hair - no grey - ! I think she liked it - You feel she must have been exactly like the picture when she was 20 - ! It is exactly like her - a funny little fat lady - a very graceful one rather Dutch in character.' 4
NOTE: Mrs Sickert had posed to Whistler for Arrangement in Violet and Pink: Mrs Walter Sickert [YMSM 337] about 1885-1886, and formerly it was assumed that Green and Violet: Portrait of Mrs Walter Sickert dated from the same period. 5
Last updated: 12th November 2020 by Margaret