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Catalog Data

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)  Search this
Watercolor on paper
H x W: 12.2 x 27.8 cm (4 13/16 x 10 15/16 in)
United States
A view across the water to buildings and sailing vessels, including, at the extreme right, two sailboats, one with a red and yellow sail; signed with the butterfly at lower left corner.
Blue butterfly in lower left corner
On rough, wove paper mounted overall to board. A watermark reading "J. Whatman/Turkey Mill/187[?]" appears through the bottom half of the paper.
To 1905
Thomas Way Sr. (1827-1915), London, or Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), London, to 1905 [1]
From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Thomas Way Sr. or Thomas Robert Way in 1905 [2]
From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]
[1] See Original Whistler List, Paintings, pg. 20B, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Thomas Way Sr. and his son, Thomas Robert Way, were lithographers who worked closely with Whistler on several of his projects. They helped with the printing of his etchings, as well as the printing of Whistler’s promotional materials. Both Thomas Way Sr. and Thomas Robert Way owned many Whistler works. Thomas Way Sr. acquired several of these works at the time of Whistler’s bankruptcy, and he passed some of them on to his son (see The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler, 1855-1903, ed. Margaret F. MacDonald, Patricia de Montfort and Nigel Thorp, On-line Edition, People, biographies of Thomas Way and Thomas Robert Way;
Charles Lang Freer acquired many Whistler pieces from the Ways. However, museum records do not always specify whether it was the younger or elder Way who was the source of a particular object. Further, archival sources indicate that the junior Way sometimes acted on behalf of his father: whilst negotiating the sale of his own Whistler works to C.L. Freer, he would concurrently negotiate the sale of some of his father’s Whistler works to Freer. In cases where it is unclear whether it was the junior or senior Way who actually owned a piece acquired by C.L. Freer, the provenance record will simply state that the object was purchased from “Thomas Way Sr. or Thomas Robert Way.”
[2] See note 1.
[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Exhibition History:
Whistler in Watercolor (May 18 to November 3, 2019)
Whistler in Venice: The Pastels (January 19 to June 15, 2003)
James McNeill Whistler Pastels, Etchings, Paintings, Watercolors (November 11, 1976 to June 24, 1977)
Previous custodian or owner:
Thomas Way Sr. (1837-1915)
Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913) (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
water  Search this
United States  Search this
American Art  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Related Online Resources:
Google Cultural Institute
Whistler in Watercolor
See more items in:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Collection
Data Source:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery