James McNeill Whistler - The Little Note in Yellow and Gold, 1886

James McNeill Whistler (Lowell, Massachusetts, 1834 - 1903, London, England)

The Little Note in Yellow and Gold, 1886

Chalk and pastel on brown paper , 27 x 14 cm (10 5/8 x 5 1/2 in.)

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(Lowell, Massachusetts, 1834 - 1903, London, England)

Object details

Accession number

P25e1

Primary Creator

James McNeill Whistler (Lowell, Massachusetts, 1834 - 1903, London, England)

Full title

The Little Note in Yellow and Gold

Creation Date

1886

Provenance

Commissioned by Isabella Stewart Gardner from James McNeill Whistler, London, 30 October 1886 for 100 guineas.

Marks

Signed (center right): Whistler's butterfly signature

Dimensions

27 x 14 cm (10 5/8 x 5 1/2 in.)

Display Media

Chalk and pastel on brown paper

Dimension Notes

Frame: 49.85 x 37.47 cm (19 5/8 x 14 3/4 in.)

Web Commentary

This small pastel is a portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner.  Gardner and James McNeill Whistler enjoyed a long relationship that began as patron and artist, but gradually grew into a warm friendship. Author Henry James introduced the two in 1879, while the Gardners were in London with their three nephews. Isabella sat for this portrait in 1886 and over the next several years, acquired more of his works.  Four of these are on display in the Veronese Room. As a symbol of their friendship, Whistler gave Gardner his bamboo walking stick which she displayed in the Sargent / Whistler Case in the Long Gallery.

Permanent Gallery Location

Veronese Room

Bibliography

Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 18. (as "Pastel," by Whistler)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 201.
Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), pp. 103-05.
Morris Carter. "Mrs. Gardner & The Treasures of Fenway Court" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 6, ill. 3.
Corinna Lindon Smith. Interesting People (Norman, Oklahoma, 1962), p. 156.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 19 (6 Jan. 1963), p. 1. (excerpting Morris Carter, pp. 103-05)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 292-93 (as "Mrs. Gardner in Yellow and Gold").
Margaret F. MacDonald. James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours, a Catalogue Raisonné (New Haven, 1995), pp. 412-13, no. 1116.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 196-97.
Cynthia Saltzman. Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), p. 53.

Rights and reproductions

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Commentary

This small pastel is a portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner.  Gardner and James McNeill Whistler enjoyed a long relationship that began as patron and artist, but gradually grew into a warm friendship. Author Henry James introduced the two in 1879, while the Gardners were in London with their three nephews. Isabella sat for this portrait in 1886 and over the next several years, acquired more of his works.  Four of these are on display in the Veronese Room. As a symbol of their friendship, Whistler gave Gardner his bamboo walking stick which she displayed in the Sargent / Whistler Case in the Long Gallery.