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

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Violet and Blue: The Red Feather

Violet and Blue: The Red Feather dates from between 1897 and 1898. 1

The model was probably Muriel Smith (1883-1923), who was posing to Whistler in the autumn of 1897. 2

'The "Red Feather"' was completed by August 1898 when Whistler was willing to sell it to Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920). 3 It was recorded as sold by Whistler to Charles Hessele (fl. 1892-1914) in a year later, in the summer of 1899, but this sale may not have been confirmed. 4

It was first exhibited in the Eleventh Exhibition held at the New Gallery, Society of Portrait Painters, London, 1901 (cat. no. 76) as 'Violet and Blue – The Red Feather'.


1: Dated 'about 1896/1900' in YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 503).

2: Whistler to R. Birnie Philip, [11 August 1897], GUW #04716.

3: Whistler to C. Anderson, [August/September 1898], GUW #00792.

4: [June/July 1899] formerly dated [1901/1902], GUW #13662.

Last updated: 24th March 2021 by Margaret