National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian James McNeill Whistler (artist)
American, 1834 - 1903
Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian, 1888(?)-1900
oil on canvas
overall: 191.5 x 89.8 cm (75 3/8 x 35 3/8 in.) framed: 212.4 x 109.9 cm (83 5/8 x 43 1/4 in.)
Harris Whittemore Collection
On View
From the Tour: Whistler, Sargent, and Tanner — Americans Abroad in the Late 1800s
Object 7 of 7


Sold 1900/1901 by the artist to Edward G. Kennedy, New York; his firm (H. Wunderlich & Co., New York); sold January 1902 to John Howard Whittemore [d. 1910], Naugatuck, Connecticut; probably bequeathed to the J. H. Whittemore Company, Naugatuck, Connecticut, with life interest to his daughter, Miss Gertrude B. Whittemore [d. 1941], Naugatuck, Connecticut;[1] gift 1943 to NGA.

[1] Andrew McLaren Young, Margaret F. MacDonald, and Robin Spencer, with the assistance of Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeil Whistler, New Haven, 1980: 170, dates the transcation with Whittemore to 1900, based on a note by Kennedy in the New York Public Library. However, according to a letter (signed by Hermann Wunderlich) of 24 November 1934 from Kennedy & Co. to the J. H. Whittemore Company, the painting was purchased directly from the artist in May 1901 (recounted in letter of 7 April 1948 from Clarence E. Jones, Whittemore Co. treasurer, to James Lane, in NGA curatorial files). In addition, the invoice for the sale from Wunderlich to Whittemore is dated 6 January 1902, with payment received 22 January (copy in NGA curtaorial files). The artist Edward Austin Abbey recommended the painting, as "the property of a Mr. Whittemore of Naugatuck," to Isabella Stewart Gardner when it was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in early 1902 (letter of 30 January 1902, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, copy in NGA curatorial files). Another question in the records seems to be which "Mr. Whittemore" purchased the painting, John Howard Whittemore, or his son, Harris Whittemore. Most of the records seem to point to John Howard Whittemore. The 1902 invoice was made out to "J. H. Whittemore," and the loan of the painting to five exhibitions prior to John Whittemore's death in 1910 was credited to either "John H. Whittemore" or "J. H. Whittemore." Although not explicitly documented, it seems that, as with Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl, John Howard Whittemore's daughter, Gertrude B. Whittemore, was given a life interest in the painting after it became owned by the J. H. Whittemore Company, a company formed after John Howard Whittemore's death. Miss Whittemore is credited as the owner of the painting in the six exhibitions to which it was lent prior to her death in 1941. Despite this evidence, letters in NGA curatorial files from the Whittemore Company always discuss the painting as having been owned by Harris Whittemore, and the 1980 catalogue raisonné (p. 170), confuses the two Whittemore names, referring to "J. Harris Whittemore" at one point.

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