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GLAHA 46317

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GLAHA 46317: 'Harmony in Flesh Colour and Black: Portrait of Mrs Louise Jopling' 1877 - click to view larger image

"Harmony in Flesh Colour and Black: Portrait of Mrs Louise Jopling" 1877

CRE WHISTLER, James McNeill; (American; 1834-1903)

Oil on canvas
192.5 x 90.0
Gilded reeded, 206.5 x 105.0 x 6.8
(191)Plate 155 YOUNG, Andrew McLaren, MACDONALD, Margaret F., SPENCER, Robin and MILES, Hamish 1980 The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven and London
The Manchester-born sitter, Louise Jopling-Rowe (1843-1933), poetess and painter of portraits and figure compositions, was one of the Vice-Presidents of the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union, founded in 1890. She later set up her own art school for female students. Her second husband, Joseph Middlemore Jopling, was best man at Whistler's wedding in 1888 to Beatrix Godwin. It was recorded in the diary of Beatrix's first husband, architect Edward W Godwin (1833-1886), that Whistler painted this full-length portrait in just an hour and a half: 'An almost awful exhibition of nervous power and concentration.' Whistler's 'nervous power' is overwhelmingly present in the speed and directness of the paint handling. He first applied black, and then confidently sketched the figure in grey in an intense one-and-a-half-hour stretch, followed by the fluent pink applied with a wide soft-haired brush. The grey/black tone shimmering through creates an almost enamel-like effect while the coarse canvas weave provides interesting textures. The sweeping brush strokes provide a perfect example of Whistler modelling with what he described as 'the painter's clay'. John Everett Millais (1829-1896) exhibited his portrait of Louise Jopling-Rowe at the Grosvenor Gallery, London, in 1880 (49) (Sotheby's, London, 22 November 1988 (45)). Birnie Philip Gift, 1935, not lendable.

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