Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834 - 1903)
Sitter: Frederick Richards Leyland (1831 - 1892)
Historical period(s)
Oil on canvas
H x W: 218.5 x 119.4 cm (86 x 47 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

portrait, United States

To 1905
William Marchant & Co., London, to 1905 [1]

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from William Marchant & Co., through Mr. R. A. Canfield, in May 1905 [2]

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


[1] See Original Whistler List, Paintings, pg. 15b, 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)

William Marchant & Co. (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854 - 1919


Whistler derived the somber palette and tall, narrow format of this painting of his first important patron from portraits by the Spanish court painter Diego Velázquez (1599¬–1660). Whistler was eager both to please Leyland and to fulfill his own artistic ambition with this portrait, the first in a series of Arrangements in Black. Leyland described the protracted process of posing as “my own martyrdom,” but in the end the self-made shipping magnate was pleased to be portrayed in the manner of a baroque aristocrat.

Published References
  • Susan Hobbs. Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. vol. 120, no. 5 New York, November 1981. pl. 7.
  • Geneva Frances Morgan Tilleux. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, 1857-1873. Ann Arbor. fig. 68.
  • Burns A. Stubbs Freer Gallery of Art. The Whistler Peacock Room. Washington, D.C. pl. 1.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book IX: Exhibition of May 2nd, 1923. Washington. .
  • Denys Sutton. James McNeill Whistler: Paintings, Etchings, Pastels & Watercolours. London, 1966. pl. 60.
  • Denys Sutton. Nocturne: The Art of James McNeill Whistler. Philadelphia and New York, 1964. fig. 31.
  • James McNeill Whistler, with an introduction by Elizabeth Robins Pennell, with an introduction by Joseph Pennell. James McNeill Whistler. Distinguished American artists New York, 1924. pl. 27.
  • Andrew McLaren Young, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer. The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Studies in British Art 2 vols. New Haven, 1980. pl. 104.
  • Burns A. Stubbs. James McNeill Whistler: A Biographical Outline Illustrated from the Collections of the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 1, no. 4 Washington, 1950. pl. 9.
  • Albert Gallatin. Portraits of Whistler: A Critical Study and an Iconography. New York. p. 9.
  • H. Granville Fell. Memories of Whistler I. The Peacock Room. vol. 95 London, January/February 1935. pp. 21-24.
  • Sadakichi Hartmann. The Whistler Book: A Monograph of the Life and Position in Art of James McNeill Whister, Together with a Careful Study of His More Important Works. Boston. p. 22.
  • Thomas Robert Way. Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the artist. London. pp. 29, 35.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. pp. 32, 113, pl. 15.
  • Charles Henry Caffin. The Art of James McNeill Whistler: Lecture at the Detroit Museum of Art. Detroit, Friday, April 23, 1909. p. 39.
  • Thomas Lawton Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 39, fig. 26.
  • Margaret F. MacDonald, Patricia de Montfort, Pamela Robertson, Lee Glazer. James McNeill Whistler Retrospective. Exh. cat. Tokyo, 2014. p. 40, fig. 20.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler: Uneasy Pieces. Richmond and New York, 2004. p. 45, fig. 2.17.
  • Barbara Dayer Gallati, Eric Homberger, Sylvia Yount, Dorothee Hansen, Ortrud Westheider, Susanne Scharf, Bucerius Kunst Forum. High Society: American Portraits of the Gilded Age: Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, June 7-August 31, 2008. Exh. cat. Munich. p. 67.
  • Hesketh Pearson. The Man Whistler: pt. 3; the Peacock Room. New York, December 1952. p. 76.
  • Jonathan Shirland. Embryonic Phantoms: Materiality, Marginality and Modernity in Whistler's Black Portraits. 34/1. p. 83, fig. 1.
  • Kenneth Bendiner. An Introduction to Victorian Painting. New Haven. p. 85.
  • Hesketh Pearson. The Man Whistler. New York. pp. 90, 116-117.
  • Susan Grace Galassi, Margaret F. MacDonald, Aileen Ribeiro. Whistler, Women, and Fashion. Exh. cat. New Haven and New York, April 22 - July 13, 2003. p. 97, fig. 89.
  • Susan Hobbs. A Connoisseur's Vision of America: The American Collection of Charles Lang Freer., August 1977. p. 98.
  • Linda Merrill. The Peacock Room: A Cultural Biography. Washington and New Haven. p. 110, fig. 3.1.
  • Tom Prideaux. The World of Whistler, 1834-1903. New York, 1970. p. 116.
  • International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers. Memorial exhibition of the works of the late James McNeill Whistler: first president of the International society of sculptors, painters, and gravers, in the New gallery, Regent Street, London, from the twenty-second of February to the fifteenth of April . Exh. cat. London. p. 118.
  • Bernhard Sickert. Whistler. London and New York. cat. 42, p. 156.
  • Katharine Lochnan. The Etchings of James McNeill Whistler. Exh. cat. New Haven and London, 1984. p. 156.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell Joseph Pennell. The Life of James McNeill Whistler. 2 vols., London and Philadelphia. p. 178.
  • Albert von Dreyfus. James A. McNeill Whistler. Munich. p. 218.
  • Helen W. Henderson. The Art Treasures of Washington: An Account of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and of the National Gallery and Museum, with Descriptions and Criticisms of their Contents. The Art Galleries of America series Boston. p. 244.
  • Edwards Park. Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution., 1st ed. Washington and New York. p. 332.
  • Leila Mechlin. The Freer Collection of Art: Mr. Charles L. Freer's Gift to the Nation, to be Installed at Washington. vol. 73, no. 3 New York, January 1907. p. 364.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum