Bead Stringers

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
Crayon and pastel on brown paper
H x W: 27.6 x 11.7 cm (10 7/8 x 4 5/8 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


United States
Provenance research underway.

Here, as in most of his Venice pastels, Whistler sketched the outlines of his drawing with dark chalk, then added firm strokes of color to fill in the details of the figures, windows, drying clothes, and sky. Framed by the warm orange-brown of the lightly worked building walls, Whistler used cool whites, grays, and blues to establish the central subject and the regress to the background, before locking the harmonies into place with the dark greens of the shutters, the blacks of the women's shawls, and the deep browns that define the shadowy interior of the distant building.

Published References
  • Whistler portfolio. London. pl. 5.
  • Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Joseph Pennell. The Life of James McNeill Whistler. 2 vols., London and Philadelphia. vol. 1: p. 182.
  • Margaret F. MacDonald. James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels, and Watercolours : A Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven, 1995. .
  • Octave Maus. Whistler in Belgium. vol. 23, no. 89 New York, July 1904. p. 9.
  • Robin Spencer. James McNeill Whistler. British Artists. p. 60.
  • Margaret F. MacDonald. Palaces in the Night: Whistler in Venice. Aldershot, Hampshire, England, 2001. p. 61, fig. 70.
  • Thomas Robert Way, G. R. Dennis. The Art of James McNeill Whistler: An Appreciation by T.R. Way and G.R. Dennis. London, 1903. p. 92.
  • Warren Adelson, Elaine Kilmurray, Elizabeth Oustinoff, Richard Ormond, Rosella Mamoli Zorzi, William H. Gerdts. Sargent's Venice. London. p. 176, fig. 192.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 264, pl. 255.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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