Chelsea Shops

A street scene with figures.

Maker(s)
Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
early 1880s
Medium
Oil on wood panel
Dimensions
H x W: 13.5 x 23.4 cm (5 5/16 x 9 3/16 in)
Geography
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1902.149a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Oil painting

Keywords
commerce, United States
Provenance

To 1902
Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934), London, to 1902 [1]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Henry Studdy Theobald, London, in August 1902 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] Undated folder note sheet, Object file. See also Original Whistler List, Purchases from Theobald, pg. 2, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] 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)

Henry Studdy Theobald (C.L. Freer source) 1847-1934
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Description

A street scene with figures.

Label

Chelsea Shops is one of the earliest and greatest of Whistler's many representations of building facades. Setting himself at a slight diagonal to the shops across the street, he treats their fronts as a natural or "found" arrangement of colored squares and rectangles. Although the painting has an easily recognizable subject, Whistler's preoccupation with abstract form is a harbinger for the non-representational grids of twentieth-century artists like Piet Mondrian.

Published References
  • Daniel E. Sutherland. Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake. .
  • Frances Spaulding. Whistler. Oxford. pl. 67.
  • Denys Sutton. James McNeill Whistler: Paintings, Etchings, Pastels & Watercolours. London, 1966. pl. 103.
  • Denys Sutton. Nocturne: The Art of James McNeill Whistler. Philadelphia and New York, 1964. fig. 51.
  • Andrew McLaren Young, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Studies in British Art 2 vols. New Haven, 1980. vol. 2, pl. 222.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. pp. 28, 128, pl. 32.
  • Kenneth Myers. Mr. Whistler's Gallery: Pictures at an 1884 Exhibition. Washington. cat. 32, p. 58.
  • Donald Holden. Whistler Landscapes and Seascapes. New York. p. 69, pl. 24.
  • Kenneth Myers. Mr. Whistler's Gallery: the art of displaying art. New York, November 2003. p. 150.
  • Tom Prideaux. The World of Whistler, 1834-1903. New York, 1970. p. 181.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 197, fig. 134.
  • H. Barbara Weinberg. Childe Hassam: American Impressionist. Exh. cat. New York and New Haven, 2004. p. 211, fig. 220.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage conditions apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.