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); 'Royal Academy Bicentenary', Royal Academy, London, UK, 14 December 1968 - 02 March 1969; 'James McNeill Whistler', Tate Gallery, London, UK, 12 October 1994 - 08 January 1995; 'America! Stories of Painting from the New World', Musei du Santa Giulia, Brescia, near Milan, Italy, 24 November 2007 - 04 May 2008; 'The Cult of Beauty', Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, 2 April 2011 - 17 July 2011; 'James McNeill Whistler Retrospective', National Museum of Art, Kyoto, Japan, 13 September 2014 - 16 November 2014; 'James McNeill Whistler Retrospective', Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan, 06 December 2014 - 01 March 2015; 'The Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan and James McNeill Whistler', National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Royal Academy, London, 26 February - 22 May 2022 (Cat. pp.44, 108, 110-11, 162, 167, 171, 173-6, no. 8)