A Bridge

Maker(s)
Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
1858
Medium
Pencil on off-white wove paper
Dimensions
H x W: 20.8 x 32.3 cm (8 3/16 x 12 11/16 in)
Geography
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1898.176
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Drawing
Type

Drawing

Keywords
bridge, landscape, United States
Provenance

Seymour Haden (1818-1910), London [1]

To 1898
H. Wunderlich & Co., New York to 1898 [2]

From 1898 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from H. Wunderlich & Co., through Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938), in November 1898 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]

Notes:

[1] See Original Whistler List, Haden Collection Drawings, pg. 2, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See Voucher No. 20, November 1898, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[3] See note 2.

[4] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Francis Seymour Haden 1818-1910
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
H. Wunderlich & Co. (C.L. Freer source) 1874-1912

Label

A Bridge follows the canons of eighteenth-century picturesque landscape imagery. The drawing has an academic quality which sets it apart from other sketches executed during Whistler's Rhineland tour, and the actual site has thus far eluded identification. The scene recalls a heavy stone bridge at Mayence, and similar bridges at Bingen and Coblentz were painted by Turner earlier in the century. Whistler could also have created a composite or imagined scene. Whistler drew with a soft lead, and then sharpened details with a harder pencil, while smudging in shadows with his finger. What is most interesting about the drawing is Whistler's consistency of vision. Although he soon abandoned such academic designs, he remained interested in river banks glimpsed through the arches of a bridge. Later etchings, like London Bridge, (F1898.358) as well as drawings and watercolors are based on such a composition.

Published References
  • Margaret F. MacDonald. James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels, and Watercolours : A Catalogue RaisonnĂ©. New Haven, 1995. .
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 214, pl. 156.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.