This project surveys the work of the American born artist James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), in oils and mixed media, and in relation to his works in watercolour, pastel and drawing.
The catalogue is available exclusively online and access is entirely free. It will not be published in book form. We can continue to update it as needed with new data and images.
Whistler and Portrait of Maud Franklin, photograph, Glasgow University Library, Whistler PH1/120
Whistler was a major figure in 19th century art and, as painter, printer, and theorist. His total output was substantial. This online catalogue includes some 550 oil paintings and 1800 works on paper, most of which date from between 1850 and 1903. The evolution of each painting from sketch to final oil is described and illustrated, starting with basic information including the title, date, collection, size and medium. This is followed by an extended discussion of the date, subjects, sitters and sites shown in the paintings, a technical survey, provenance and exhibition history, and bibliography.
The Bathing Posts, Brittany, 1893, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow (YMSM 409)
By far the majority of extant works are reproduced in colour: archival photographs (dating from the 1870s through 1890s) are in monochrome. Picture frames are illustrated and described when possible. High resolution digital images of the paintings help to illustrate technique and details. In addition related prints and works on paper by Whistler and visual material by other artists are reproduced. Photographs of sitters and sites, and contemporary photographs from Whistler’s estate and other collections, illustrate the changes and inspiration for his paintings. This project builds on, and links to, the catalogue raisonné of Whistler's etchings and his correspondence.
Full documentation is provided: the catalogue is fully indexed, cross referenced, and searchable by word, name, institution, exhibition, and date. The catalogue benefits from much new research on the technique, conservation, and history of individual paintings, including exhibition reviews and contemporary responses to the works, which help to establish the context of works in relation to the art market in Europe and America in the 19th century.
Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony, 1865, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.