The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler

YMSM 308
A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman

A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman

Artist: Formerly attributed to James McNeill Whistler
Date: 1901/1903 or later
Collection: Private Collection
Accession Number: none
Medium: oil
Support: wood
Size: 121 x 191 mm (4 3/4 x 7 1/2")
Signature: none
Inscription: none

Date

Although A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman y308 supposedly came from the artist's estate, and its authenticity should therefore be beyond question, it appears to be rather uneven and crude in technique, and both its date and authorship are in doubt.

1880s: It had been suggested that could date from the 1880s. 1 However, it is impossible to place the style, technique, subject or date satisfactorily in the 1880s.

1901:

A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman, Private collection
A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman, Private collection

The Beach at Marseilles, Terra Foundation for American Art
The Beach at Marseilles, Terra Foundation for American Art

A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman y308 could conceivably date from as late as 1901, when Whistler, sick (which might account for the uneven technique) and in search of warmer climes, visited southern France and Corsica.

It shares elements of an uncertain provenance and style with The Beach at Marseille y543. Both could date from considerably later, after Whistler's death.

Images

A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman, Private collection
A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman, Private collection

The Beach at Marseilles, Terra Foundation for American Art
The Beach at Marseilles, Terra Foundation for American Art

Subject

Titles

One title has been suggested:

Description

A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman, Private collection
A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman, Private collection

A street scene in horizontal format. Shuttered shops shadowed by an overhanging roof run diagonally up from the lower left corner to a street corner where another narrow street crosses it. On the far side of that street, just to right of centre, is an open shop front with figures seated in the dark interior (possibly a cafe, with goods on shelves on the back wall), and several windows of different sizes at different heights on the upper storeys. A woman wearing an apron and carrying a parcel or tray stands at right in the sunlit open space in front of the buildings. Just to left of the shop/cafe is a glimpse of another street, with a man walking down it.

Site

Unknown. The sunlit street, with overhanging roofs providing shade, suggests a southern European setting.

Technique

Technique

A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman, Private collection
A Courtyard with an Open Workshop and a Standing Woman, Private collection

It is painted with rather uncertain small brushstrokes, with slightly thick, blotches and squidges of paint. It is unlike Whistler's usual technique and style.

Conservation History

Unknown.

Frame

Unknown.

History

Provenance

J. Baskett, Jr, was the source of information on this provenance. According to him, he was told that Harold Wright had bought the painting from Miss Birnie Philip, and J. Baskett, Sr, sold it to Gilbert Davis, from whom J. Baskett, Jr, bought it on 13 January 1970. He sold it to the artist Edward Seago in March 1970 (the technique bears some resemblance to Seago's paintings of street scenes). 3 It was bequeathed to Peter Seymour in January 1974.

Exhibitions

It was not exhibited in Whistler's lifetime.

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: 'Probably painted in the 1880s' according to YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 308).

2: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 308).

3: See for instance, Seago's Shau Kie Wan, Hong Kong, 1961, and Queens Road West, The Taylor Gallery Ltd, at http://www.onlinegalleries.com/art-and-antiques/detail/shau-kie-wan-hong-kong-1961/224526 (acc. 2016.1.31).