The Marble Palace

citation

Maker(s)
Artist: James McNeill Whistler (United States, 1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
1880
Medium
Chalk and pastel on brown paper
Dimensions
H x W: 30 x 15.7 cm (11 13/16 x 6 3/16 in)
Geography
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
F1905.123a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Drawing
Type

Drawing

Keywords
palace, United States
Provenance

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]

Notes:

[1] See Original Whistler List, Paintings, pg. 29, 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; http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/correspondence).

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.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Thomas Robert Way (C.L. Freer source) 1861-1913
Thomas Way Sr. 1837 - 1915

Label

"Whistler often used the chalk on its side, sometimes with firm pressure, to create passages of strong scumbling. While simple charcoal outlines give structure to the architecture, a lightly scumbled haze embraces the old Marble Palace itself. In alternating passages of clarity through charcoal lines and obscurity through nearly evanescent pastel, Whistler evokes a world of dreams, a time when perception and enigma intermingle."
Robert H. Getscher, James Abbott McNeill Whistler: Pastels (New York: George Braziller, 1991), p. 90.

Published References
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 263, pl. 253.
  • Margaret F. MacDonald. James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels, and Watercolours : A Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven, 1995. .
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler: Uneasy Pieces. Richmond and New York, 2004. p. 275, fig. 7.7.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell Joseph Pennell. The Life of James McNeill Whistler. 2 vols., London and Philadelphia. p. 278.
  • Thomas Robert Way G. R. Dennis. The Art of James McNeill Whistler: An Appreciation by T.R. Way and G.R. Dennis. London, 1903. p. 92.
  • Ira M. Horowitz. Whistler's Frames. vol. 39, no. 2, Winter 1979-1980. pp. 124-131, fig. 6.
  • International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers. Memorial exhibition of the works of the late James McNeill Whistler: first president of the International society of sculptors, painters, and gravers, in the New gallery, Regent Street, London, from the twenty-second of February to the fifteenth of April . Exh. cat. London. p. 68.
  • Whistler portfolio. London. pl. 4.
  • Robert H. Getscher. Whistler and Venice. Ann Arbor. pl. 28.
  • Lynda C. Claassen. Finders' Guide to Prints and Drawings in the Smithsonian Institution. Washington. p. 32.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum