ID number: BIRBI-39.24
Institution: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker: Whistler, James Abbott McNeill (1834-1903)
Title / Object name: Symphony in White, No. III
Object type: Painting
Date made: about 1865/7
Materials: Oil on canvas
Measurements: 51.4 x 76.9 cm
Provenance: Probably purchased by Louis Huth from the artist, in the collection of Sir Edmund Davies before 1905, J.P.; purchased at the Sir Edmund Davies sale, Christie's, 7 July 1939, Lot no. 100.
This beautiful and evocative picture was begun in 1865 (the date originally painted on the canvas), and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1867. It was the first picture to be shown by the artist under a musical title - an innovation which led to a celebrated controversy between Whistler and the art critic, P. G. Hamerton. On the sofa is Joanna Hiffernan, Whistler's mistress and model. Subject and technique reflect Whistler's friendship with Albert Moore, while the fan reminds us of the contemporary fashion for Japanese art, evident also in Rossetti's Blue bower.
Inscriptions / Translations: Inscribed, signed and dated I.I.: Symphony in White, No. III.-Whistler. 1867-[the figure 7 written over a 5]
Notes: Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1867 (233); Goupil Gallery, 1892 (2); New Gallery, Memorial Exhibition of the Works of James McNeill Whistler, 1905 (7); New Gallery, 1909 (160); French Gallery, 1915 (6); 'The Cult of Beauty', Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2 April - 17 July 2011