American, 1834 - 1903

San Biagio: Flesh Colour and Grey

Date: 1880

In 1880, bankrupt and battered but with an artistic commission in hand, James Abbott McNeill Whistler went to Venice. The previous year he had won a lawsuit for defamation against the influential art critic John Ruskin, who had insulted one of Whistler’s paintings. Awarded only a farthing by the court for damages, Whistler desperately needed the commission from the Fine Arts Society that sent him to Italy to create a set of twelve etchings of Venice.

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Medium: Pastel on Paper

Dimensions: H: 5 1/2 x W: 10 1/8 in.

Accession: 0192

Collection: Julian Wood Glass Jr. Collection

Category: Paintings - Landscapes

Tags: Pastel , Grey , San Biagio

Purchased May 7, 1985 from Newhouse Galleries. From the collections of Robert Woods Bliss, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.; William Rolfe, Jr., Boston, Massachusetts; S. Juvelis, Marblehead, Massachusetts; Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts, 1962; and a private collector, Boston, Massachusetts, 1962 to the present. Recorded in the catalogue of the exhibition, "Venetian Pastels by James McNeill Whistler", Fine Art Society, London, England, 1881, no. 9; "Notes, Harmonies and Nocturnes, Small Works by James McNeill Whistler", M. Knoedler and Company, New York, 1984, p. 63, no. 80; and to be recorded in Margaret F. MacDonald's forthcoming catalogue raisonne on Whistler, University of Glasgow. Reproduced in Thomas Way, "Memories of James McNeill Whistler", London, England, 1912, following page 52, no. 9 (sketch by the author); and "Notes, Harmonies and Nocturnes, Small Works by James McNeill Whistler", M. Knoedler and Company, New York, 1984, p. 63, no. 80. Exhibited as part of "Venetian Pastels by James McNeill Whistler", Fine Art Socielty, London, January, 1881, no. 9; and "Notes, Harmonies and Nocturnes, Small Works by James McNeill Whistler", M. Knoedler and Company, December, 1984, no. 80.