Vert et Or: Le Raconteur (Green and Gold: The Storyteller)

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
ca. 1896-1900
Oil on canvas
H x W: 51.3 x 31.3 cm (20 3/16 x 12 5/16 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

child, portrait, United States

To 1905
Rosalind Birnie-Philip (1873-1958), London, to 1905 [1]

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Rosalind Birnie-Philip in 1905 [2]

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


[1] See Original Whistler List, Paintings, page 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) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Rosalind Birnie Philip (C.L. Freer source) 1873-1958


Freer once wrote a friend, "I believe Whistler really was the most successful of all known painters of children." Most of Whistler's young subjects were the children of friends or relatives. But in the later 1890s Whistler often took cab rides through poorer London neighborhoods looking for street children to paint. The subject of this painting was an Italian waif named Tom. The sweep of the boy's left hand and his crooked smile suggest a mischievous intelligence.

Quotation from Charles Lang Freer to William Bixby, January 10, 1906,
Freer Gallery of Art Archives.

Published References
  • 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. 328.
  • Charles Henry Caffin. The Art of James McNeill Whistler: Lecture at the Detroit Museum of Art. Detroit, Friday, April 23, 1909. p. 40.
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 148, pl. 56.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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