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Gallery Text

After declaring bankruptcy in 1879, Whistler defaced a number of his unfinished paintings so that they would be unsalable. This work, which likely depicts his model and eventual mistress Maud Franklin, is one of those paintings. Though Whistler’s marks were later removed, signs of the work’s incomplete nature remain: for instance, Whistler did not finish the woman’s hands, and his application of paint is uneven. Still, it serves as a noteworthy representation of the artist’s interests and techniques. His engagement with japonisme — the European infatuation with Japanese art and culture — is evident in the geometric patterning of the foreshortened ground plane and in the inclusion of such motifs as fans and blossoms. The American artist Robert Henri wrote that this painting evoked “the sensation of the silence of velvet. . . . [W]e are held a moment and are deflected to areas where we seem to pass through air. . . . [I]t is a fantasy, it is a spiritual expression.”

Identification and Creation
Object Number
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, American (Lowell, MA 1834 - 1903 London, England)
Harmony in Grey and Peach Colour
Other Titles
Former Title: The White Girl, No. IV
Former Title: The White Woman
Former Title: The White Girl
Work Type
Creation Place: North America, United States
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
193 x 101 cm (76 x 39 3/4 in.)
framed: 219.7 x 127 x 8.9 cm (86 1/2 x 50 x 3 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: c.l. Butterfly monogram
  • label: WITH CARE / "A White Lady" by J. M. Whistler / Belonging to the Misses Way / 21 Brunswick Sqr. / D.C.
Thomas Way, Sr., 1879, London [purchased through dealer], sold [through Sotheby's, July 25, 1916, lot 77]; to [Agnew, London], sold; to [C.W. Kraushaar Galleries, New York, 1916], sold; to Mrs. Benjamin Thaw. Mrs. C. Lewis Hind, London, sold; to John F. Braun. [Ferargil Galleries, New York, 1939], sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, New York, NY, 1939, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

William M. Rossetti, [Unidentified article], The Builder (July 9, 1874)

Thomas R. Way, The Art of James McNeill Whistler: An Appreciation, George Bell and Sons, Ltd. (London, England, 1903), pp. 26-27, pastel study reproduction facing page 26

Elizabeth Robins Pennell and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, J. B. Lippincott/W. Heinemann (Philadelphia, PA and London, England, 1908), vol. I, p. 258

World of Fair Women, exh. cat., International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers (London, England, 1910), no. 43

Thomas R. Way, Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the Artist, John Lane Co. (New York, 1912), reproduced before p. 139

[Unidentified article], Fine Arts Journal (Chicago, IL, 1917), pp. 137-39, pp. 137-139, reproduced facing p. 134

Elizabeth Robins Pennell and Joseph Pennell, The Whistler Journal, J. B. Lippincott and Co. (Philadelphia, PA, 1921), p. 134-135, reproduced facing page 134, pastel reproduction facing page 135

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit, J. B. Lippincott Company (Philadelphia, PA and London, England, 1923), p. 275

Harvey M. Watts, "The John F. Braun Collection of American Art", Arts & Decoration (July 1926), vol. 25, pp. 46-47, reproduced p. 47

Daniel Catton Rich, Catalogue of a Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture Lent from American Collections, exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, 1933), no. 434

Burns A. Stubbs, Paintings, Pastels, Drawings, Prints and Copper Plates by and attributed to American and European artists, together with a list of original Whistleriana in the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C, 1948), p. 22

Denys Sutton, Nocturne: The Art of James McNeill Whistler, Phaidon Press Limited (London, England, 1963), p. 72

Denys Sutton, James McNeill Whistler: Paintings, Etchings, Pastels and Watercolors, Phaidon Press (London, England, 1966), reproduced pl. 63

Stuart Preston, Whistler, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1971)

Andrew McLaren Young and Margaret F. MacDonald, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, Yale University Press (New Haven, 1980), vol I no. 131, p. 79; vol II, reproduced b/w plate 83

David Park Curry, James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art, exh. cat., Freer Gallery of Art / W.W. Norton & Co. (New York and Washington, DC, 1984), reproduced in b/w fig. 240.3, p. 255

Eleanor Heartney, "What's Wrong with Beauty?", Independent Curators Inc. (Winter 1987), vol. II, no. 1

Margaret F. MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler: A Reexamination, ed. Ruth E. Fine, National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C., 1987), reproduced in b/w fig. 1, p. 13; text p. 13-14

Timothy Anglin Burgard, American Art at Harvard: Cultures and Contexts, brochure, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1994), p. 12, cat. 86

Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, 1998), vol. 2, note 171.2, p. 154

Jonathan Weinberg, Amibition and Love in Modern American Art, Yale University Press (2001), page 26

Chikashi Kitazaki and Mina Oya, ed., Between Reality and Dreams: Nineteenth Century British and French Art from the Winthrop Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art (Ueno, 2002), pp. 222-223, cat. #70, color repr.

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), pp. 468-69, cat. 213, ill.

Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), pp. 484-85, cat. 213, ill.

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Virginia Anderson, and Kimberly Orcutt, ed., American Paintings at Harvard, Volume Two, Paintings, Drawings, Pastels and Stained Glass by Artists Born 1826-1856, Harvard Art Museums and Yale University Press (U.S.) (Cambridge, MA and New Haven, CT, 2008), p. 405-08, cat. no. 435, reproduced in color, p. 407

Betsy Fahlman, Kraushaar Galleries: Celebrating 125 Years, Kraushaar Galleries (New York, 2010), detail, p. 6; ill., p. 9

Exhibition History

Mr. Whistler's Exhibition, Flemish Gallery, London, 01/01/1874 - 12/31/1874

Unidentified Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, 1877, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 05/01/1877 - 05/31/1877

World of Fair Women, International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London, 01/01/1910 - 12/31/1910

American Painting in the Braun Collection, Pennsylvania Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 01/01/1930 - 12/31/1930

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

American Art at Harvard: Cultures and Contexts, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/01/1994 - 12/30/1994

The Persistence of Memory: Continuity and Change in American Cultures, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/29/1995 - 05/13/2001

A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004

For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004

32Q: 2710 North Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 06/22/2021

Subjects and Contexts

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