Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Pigments in a Paint Box Belonging to Whistler in the Library of Congress

Catalog Data

FitzHugh, Elisabeth West  Search this
Leona, Marco  Search this
Shibayama, Nobuko  Search this
Object Type:
Smithsonian staff publication
Electronic document
A paint box and palette that belonged to the American painter James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) are in the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. There are 37 tubes of paint in the box, including 6 in a separate cardboard box labeled Spectrum Colors. There are also painting and etching tools. The tubes were supplied by five British colormen, except for the Spectrum Colors, which came from the American firm if Devoe & Raynolds Inc. Sonic of the tube labels are missing or illegible. The pigments were identified using polarized light microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, high performance liquid chromatography, and Raman spectroscopy. Information from Devoe & Raynold's catalogs suggests that the Spectrum Colors were not available before 1909; toluidine red found in one Spectrum Color; was first synthesized in 1904. Thus, the Spectrum Colors must have been put in the paint box after Whistler's death. Of the other pigments in the box, three graphite, emerald,green and synthetic malachite are not known to have been used by Inn,, but it may be that they are yet to be identified. The paint box was given to the Library if Congress by Joseph and Elizabeth Pennell in 1917, 14 years after the artist's death, and it is not known whether the paint box was used during that time.
FitzHugh, Elisabeth West, Leona, Marco and Shibayama, Nobuko. 2011. Pigments in a Paint Box Belonging to Whistler in the Library of Congress. <i>Studies in Conservation<i>, 56(2): 115-124.
Zoology  Search this
Animals  Search this
Veterinary medicine  Search this
Animal health  Search this
Data source:
Smithsonian Libraries