In 1894 it was twice offered for sale to Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), New York print dealer: 'I have two beautiful new sea pieces in the Grafton Gallery of the size of some of those you have seen in the Salon - 400 gs. each - I suppose you don't want to speculate!' 1 He complained about Kennedy's demand for 'new work':
'I wonder what you think I can be about, in the Studio, if you believe that I am not painting "new pictures!" - At the present moment there are, in The Grafton Gallery, three pictures of mine - brand new - and finer, so they say, than anything I have ever done of their kind before - Two of them I want four hundred guineas apiece for ... Do you want to buy them? - But you tell me you cannot ... Why this chalange [sic] for new work? There is plenty of it in the Studio now - Do you know any one in America wanting it?' 2
'At the present moment I have in the Grafton Gallery three sea pieces - quite new - fresh and beautiful - I want four hundred apiece for them - Suppose you buy one and send me a cheque for two hundred - and deduct the other two hundred from your account.' 3
Having exhibited it at the Salon, Whistler offered it to David Croal Thomson (1855-1930). 4 Later that year, on 12 September 1894, A. A. Pope paid Whistler 400 guineas (£420) for 'Bleu et violet - En Danger'. 5 According to Pope's daughter, 'when he bought Violet and Blue, Mr. Whistler said to him, "Oh, Mr. Pope, you do not want another marine." Father said, "Yes, I do, because they are so different in treatment." ' Whereas Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz [YMSM 041] showed the influence of Courbet, Pope thought Dark Blue and Silver [YMSM 412] showed 'the influence of the Japanese,' but Whistler replied, 'Oh, they are all the same'! 6
Whistler reported to E. G. Kennedy, 'Just sold one of the two larger sea pieces you remember at the Champs de Mars - the "Violet & Blue" one with the big wave - £420.' 7
The Globe asserted that Whistler's 'two sea studies, “Dark Blue and Silver” and Violet and Silver a Deep Sea,” [were] both vividly suggestive of irresistible movement and vast space.' 8 The art critic of The Athenaeum commented that the style, 'though rather heavier and rougher than usual with [Whistler], embodies much of his sympathy for nature and his rare sense of homogeneous colours and tones in perfect harmony.' 9
According to Whistler his exhibits at the Grafton, Violet and Silver: A Deep Sea [YMSM 411], Dark Blue and Silver [YMSM 412] and Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers [YMSM 413] were 'three sea pieces - quite new - fresh and beautiful.' 10 The three seascapes were Violet and Silver: A Deep Sea [YMSM 411], Dark Blue and Silver and Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers [YMSM 413].
In February of the same year, The Sketch mentioned Dark Blue and Silver and Violet and Silver: A Deep Sea as being on show at the Fine Art Society, but this may have been a mistake. 11
6: Theodate Pope Riddle (Mrs J. W. Riddle) to J. W. Revillon, 26 March 1946, GUL WPP files.
7: Whistler to Kennedy, 22 September 1894, GUW
8: Anon., 'The Grafton Gallery', Globe, London, 22 January 1894, p. 3.
9: The Athenaeum, London, 27 January 1894, p. 119.
11: 'Art Notes', The Sketch, London, 7 February 1894, pp. 24-25.
Last updated: 21st November 2020 by Margaret