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Off the Beaten Path: Early Works by James McNeill Whistler

In the summer of 1858, twenty-four-year-old Whistler traveled with a friend from Paris through the Rhineland. Their goal was to reach Amsterdam and view The Night Watch and other paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn—but they soon ran out of money and were forced to return to Paris. Their excursion through the countryside, where they drew portraits in exchange for food and lodging, resulted in a body of work that for years served as source material for the artist. The drawings, etchings, and watercolors not only document Whistler’s adventures, but they also shaped his selection of subject matter and his approach to composition, light and shadow, and perspective.

Unless otherwise noted, all of these works are by James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) and are the gift of Charles Lang Freer.

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