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Water view of a city on the horizon and a dramatic sunset with clouds.

A warm toned sunset of oranges, yellows, and blues, with dramatic white clouds parting reflect into a blue of a body of water. It’s brightest along the horizon where the sun is setting. A two-domed building is drawn left of center and a slender clock tower is the tallest building on the horizon on the right. A small dark gondola with gondolier floats in the lower right. It’s painted in loose strokes conveying atmosphere and mood.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, American (Lowell, MA 1834 - 1903 London, England)
The Storm-- Sunset
Other Titles
Former Title: Stormy Sunset
Former Title: The Salute, Venice
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Pastel on brown wove paper
18.6 x 29 cm (7 5/16 x 11 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: black and brown pastel, l.r.: butterfly monogram


Recorded Ownership History
Louis Huth. [Knoedler Gallery, New York]. W. Macbeth, sold [through his sale]; to Grenville L. Winthrop [via Martin Birnbaum], New York, NY, November 1937, bequest; to the 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

  • "Art: Venice Pastels", The Observer [London] (London, England, February 6, 1881), supplement section, p. 1
  • "Mr. Whistler's Venice Pastels", Pictorial World (February 5, 1881)
  • "Mr. Whistler's Venice Pastels", The Times [London] (February 9, 1881), no. 30, 113, p. 4, mentioned p. 4
  • "Mr. Whistler's Venice Pastels", The Daily News [London] (London, England, January 31, 1881)
  • "Mr. Whistler's 'Venice Pastels'", The Queen (February 12, 1881), p. 171, mentioned p. 171
  • "Mr. Whistler's Venice Pastels.", Pan (February 5, 1881)
  • "Whistler's Wenice; or, Pastels by Pastelthwaite", Punch (February 12, 1881), p. 69, p. 69, referred to as "Boat Ahoy!"
  • [Unidentified article], The Whitehall Review (February 5, 1881)
  • Thomas R. Way, The Art of James McNeill Whistler: An Appreciation, George Bell and Sons, Ltd. (London, England, 1903), p. 93
  • Mortimer Menpes, Whistler as I Knew Him, Adam and Charles Black (London, 1904), reproduced facing p. 18
  • Thomas R. Way, Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the Artist, John Lane Co. (New York, 1912), pp. 52 - 55, reproduced p. 52, no. 28
  • Denys Sutton, James McNeill Whistler: Paintings, Etchings, Pastels and Watercolors, Phaidon Press (London, England, 1966), no. 90, p. 193, reproduced in color as plate 90
  • Dorothy W. Gillerman, ed., Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, 1969), p. 244
  • Geneviève Monnier, Pastels: From the 16th to the 20th Century, Skira Rizzoli (New York, NY, 1984), pp. 53 and 55
  • Pierre Cabanne, Whistler, Marshall Cavendish Ltd. (London, England, 1985), p. 89, ill.
  • Pierre Cabanne, Whistler, Crown Publishers Inc. (New York, NY, 1985), p. 89, ill.
  • Margaretta M. Lovell, A Visitable Past: Views of Venice by American Artists, 1860-1915, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL and London, England, 1989), p. 55, fig. 60
  • Robin Spencer, ed., Whistler: A Retrospective, Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc. (New York, NY, 1989), pp. 176 - 177
  • Robert H. Getscher, James Abbott McNeill Whistler Pastels (New York, 1991), pp. 26,, 100 - 101, 178, 181, 186, no. 31
  • Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., William H. Gerdts, Erica E. Hirshler, Fred Licht, and William L. Vance, The Lure of Italy: American Artists and the Italian Experience, 1760-1914, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Boston, MA and New York, NY, 1992), p. 418
  • Margaret F. MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours: A Catalogue Raisonné, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, England, 1995), p. 304 - 305, no. 808, reproduced
  • Alastair Grieve, Whistler's Venice, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, England, 2000), fig. 140 (color), p. 117
  • Margaret F. MacDonald, Palaces in the Night: Whistler in Venice, exh. cat., Lund Humphries (Berkeley, CA and Los Angeles, 2001), fig. 60 (color), p. 54
  • 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), p. 466, fig. 198
  • 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), p. 482, fig. 1
  • Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., American Watercolors and Pastels 1875-1950 at the Fogg Art Museum, brochure, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2006), checklist
  • 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. 416-419, cat. no. 446, reproduced in color, p. 418

Exhibition History

  • Venice Pastels, The Fine Art Society, London, 01/29/1881 - 04/01/1881
  • American Watercolors and Pastels, 1875-1950, at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/08/2006 - 06/25/2006

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project
  • Collection Highlights

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at