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

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Ajaccio, Corsica

Ajaccio, Corsica is presumed to date from between January and April 1901 when Whistler was convalescing in Corsica, although since the scene has not been identified, it is not absolutely certain that it does show Corsica. Judging by the technique and signature, it must date from at least the mid 1890s. For instance, it could possibly have been an untraced painting, Landscape, Lyme Regis [YMSM 447], dating from 1895.

In January 1901 Whistler complained about the constraints imposed by his health:

'I sit here on a bench and stew - which is literally a fact, as if it were in July - and fret ... to think of all the work undone, and the comparative stagnation in which I seem to be floundering! ... immediately I have rushed off to do desperate work in some fiendish draught - and come home to bark in the night and begin all over again! - It is most discouraging ... I suppose I must just hang on here and shut my eyes - for there are beautiful things in uncanny corners!' 1

The weather took a turn for the better in April: 'today', he wrote 'it is simply amazing! 40 - degrees - out of doors in shade. But what's the use! all this time lost as far as work goes!' 2 This painting is likely to date from towards the end of his stay, when the weather became warm enough to paint out of doors.


1: Whistler to R. B. Philip, 30 January 1901, GUW #04788.

2: Whistler to R. B. Philip, [3 April 1901], GUW #04801.

Last updated: 25th November 2020 by Margaret