Thomas Way Sr. (1827-1915), London, or Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), London, to 1905 
From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Thomas Way Sr. or Thomas Robert Way in 1905 
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 
 See Original Whistler List, Drawings, pg. 12, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Thomas Way Sr. and his son, Thomas Robert Way, were lithographers who worked closely with Whistler on several of his projects. They helped with the printing of his etchings, as well as the printing of Whistler’s promotional materials. Both Thomas Way Sr. and Thomas Robert Way owned many Whistler works. Thomas Way Sr. acquired several of these works at the time of Whistler’s bankruptcy, and he passed some of them on to his son (see The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler, 1855-1903, ed. Margaret F. MacDonald, Patricia de Montfort and Nigel Thorp, On-line Edition, People, biographies of Thomas Way and Thomas Robert Way; http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/correspondence).
Charles Lang Freer acquired many Whistler pieces from the Ways. However, museum records do not always specify whether it was the younger or elder Way who was the source of a particular object. Further, archival sources indicate that the junior Way sometimes acted on behalf of his father: whilst negotiating the sale of his own Whistler works to C.L. Freer, he would concurrently negotiate the sale of some of his father’s Whistler works to Freer. In cases where it is unclear whether it was the junior or senior Way who actually owned a piece acquired by C.L. Freer, the provenance record will simply state that the object was purchased from “Thomas Way Sr. or Thomas Robert Way.”
 See note 1.
 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) and Custodian(s)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
David Park Curry was the first scholar to question the authenticity of this drawing. In 1984 he described it as being both "clumsy in composition" and "curious in execution." In comparison to Whistler's other Venice pastels, the color is "dryly applied" and does not work well with the "sallow tone" of the "unusually smooth paper." In sum, the "drawing causes one to raise the curatorial eyebrow."
Quotations from David Park Curry, James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art, 1984), p. 258.
- Published References
- Robert H. Getscher. Whistler and Venice. Ann Arbor. pl. 19.
- David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 258, pl. 244.
- Collection Area(s)
- American Art
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
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