The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler

YMSM 112
The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin

The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin

Artist: James McNeill Whistler
Date: 1874/1879
Collection: Whereabouts Unknown
Accession Number: unknown
Medium: oil
Support: canvas
Size: unknown
Signature: unknown
Inscription: unknown
Frame: unknown

Date

The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin probably dates from between 1874 and 1879. 1

Maud Franklin (1857-1939) first posed for Whistler in the place of Frances Leyland (1834-1910) for Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink: Portrait of Mrs Frances Leyland y106, possibly as early as 1872, but more likely in 1873-1874. The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin may have been painted after 1874.

It is possible that Arrangement in Blue and Green y193, which was exhibited in 1878, and The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin y112 are the same painting. No surviving portrait appears to correspond to the descriptions given.

At least two 'Blue Girls' (The Blue Girl: Portrait of Miss Elinor Leyland y111 and The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin y112) were defaced by Whistler at the time of his bankruptcy, so that they would not fall into the hands of his creditors. One was in the house of Whistler's brother William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900) in Wimpole Street in 1880, but it is not known what happened to it thereafter. 2

Whistler may well have worked on the painting of Maud Franklin again, because, according to the Pennells, she posed to Whistler for 'the old scheme of "blue upon blue" ' before 1882. 3

Images

The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin, Whereabouts unknown
The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin, Whereabouts unknown

Connie Gilchrist, The Hunterian
Connie Gilchrist, The Hunterian

Subject

Titles

Only one title, with minor variations, is known:

Description

The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist, The Hunterian
The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist, The Hunterian

It is likely that the pose and dress was similar to other 'blue girls' such as The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist y207.

Sitter

Maud Franklin (1857-1939). She was Whistler's chief model and partner in the late 1870s and early 1880s.

The portrait was one of several 'Blue Girls', including The Blue Girl: Portrait of Miss Elinor Leyland y111, Arrangement in Blue and Green y193, The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist y207, and Scherzo in Blue: The Blue Girl y226.

Technique

Technique

Unknown.

Conservation History

According to the Pennells, 'Maud' [Franklin] posed to Whistler for 'the old scheme of "blue upon blue" ', but the painting was defaced by the artist in 1879 so that it would not fall into the hands of his creditors. 6 When his sister-in-law wrote to ask what should be done about 'the Boy or Girl in blue' (see The Blue Girl: Portrait of Miss Elinor Leyland y111), Whistler replied,

'If there be any other blue girl ( - Miss Franklin for instance) then that is not their affair - surely Waddell said that all the scratched and destroyed stretchers &c &c &c were to be left out - and the best answer to all is that everything of the kind was sent by them or their permission to you after I had left the White House.' 7

Frame

Unknown.

History

Provenance

Whistler suspected that Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890) and Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892) had conspired to remove several paintings from the White House (The Three Girls y088, The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist y207, The Loves of the Lobsters y209, and Mount Ararat y210) and he suggested that the Receiver appointed by the Bankruptcy Court, James Waddell (1838-1892), should be taken by Whistler's brother, William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), to his house in Wimpole Street,

'show him the blue Girl and explain that this with the other rags and destroyed canvasses were left in the studio and brought finally to you by his [Waddell's] direction or permission - but he will want nothing of the kind though it is at his disposal, if you clearly make him understand that this is not the blue Girl missing - Connie Gilchrist in blue - in short, that these are not the pictures he is after.' 8

By 'Connie Gilchrist in blue' he meant The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist y207, and the other two were Pink and Grey: Three Figures y089, and the painting under discussion here, The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin. It is not known what happened to it.

Exhibitions

Unknown.

Bibliography

Catalogues Raisonnés

Authored by Whistler

Catalogues 1855-1905

Journals 1855-1905

Monographs

Books on Whistler

Books, General

Catalogues 1906-Present

Journals 1906-Present

Websites

Unpublished

Other


Notes:

1: Dated 1870/1879 in YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 112).

2: Whistler to H. E. Whistler, [March 1880], GUW #06689.

3: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 1, p. 303.

4: Whistler to H. E. Whistler, [22 March 1880], GUW #06688.

5: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 112).

6: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 1, p. 303.

7: Whistler to H. E. Whistler, [22 March 1880], GUW #06688.

8: Whistler to H. E. Whistler, [March 1880], GUW #06689.