The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler

M.1226
Design for a Mosaic

Design for a Mosaic

Artist: James McNeill Whistler
Date: 1888/1891
Collection: Private Collection
Accession Number: none
Medium: pastel
Support: brown wove paper
Size: 11 x 6 7/8" (280 x 175 mm)
Signature: butterfly
Inscription: none

Date

Design for a Mosaic dates from 1888/1891.

Design for a Mosaic, Private Collection
Design for a Mosaic, Private Collection

Images

Design for a Mosaic, Private Collection
Design for a Mosaic, Private Collection

Design for a Mosaic, framed, Private Collection
Design for a Mosaic, framed, Private Collection

Design for a Mosaic, Private Collection
Design for a Mosaic, Private Collection

Subject

Sitter

Unidentified.

Technique

Composition

Venus, Freer Gallery of Art
Venus, Freer Gallery of Art

Design for a Mosaic, Private Collection
Design for a Mosaic, Private Collection

The pose is sinilar to that in several drawings, notably the 1869 cartoon of a nude, known as Venus m0357. It has been suggested that, although Design for a Mosaic dates from many years later, it was connected to Whistler's original designs for a mosaic for the South Kensington Museum, a commission that was never completed. On 25 Febryary 1905 the Morning Post specifically mentioned this 'most brilliant and luminous drawing' as a design 'approved and accepted' for a lunette at South Kensington Museum, and regretted that the project had come to nothing.

Frame

Design for a Mosaic, framed, Private Collection
Design for a Mosaic, framed, Private Collection

History

Provenance

There is some difficulty in separating the history of this pastel and The Japanese Dress m1227. 1

See further details in MacDonald 1995 (cat. rais.) [more] (cat. no. 1226).

Exhibitions

Edward F. Strange described it in 1905 as 'a brilliant and luminous drawing' and regretted that, despite being 'approved and accepted', the commison was never actually completed and displayed in the Victoria and Albert Musueum. 2

Bibliography

Catalogues Raisonnés

Catalogues 1855-1905

Newspapers 1855-1905

Books on Whistler

Journals 1906-Present


Notes:

1: Daily Chronicle, London, 29 February 1892, mentions the auction at Christie's, but does not help to identify the work sold..

2: Strange, Edward F., 'Whistler Memorial Exhibition', Morning Post, London, 23 February 1905.