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Hunterian Art Gallery Whistler Collections:
GLAHA 46320

This information is © The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2017

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GLAHA 46320: 'The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist' c.1879 - click to view larger image

"The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist" c.1879

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

Oil on canvas
188.9 x 88.6
Gilded reeded, 202.5 x 101.0 x 7.3
stamp; v. (stretcher) "BLANCHET / RUE SAINT BENOIT / PARIS"
(207) Plate156 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
At the age of twelve, Constance Macdonald Gilchrist (1865-1946) was employed as a skipping-rope dancer by J. Hollingshead of the Gaiety Theatre, London. She left the stage in 1892 to marry Edmond Walter Fitz-Maurice, the Seventh Earl of Orkney and became the Countess of Orkney. Thomas Way believed that this portrait of her was painted in very few sittings, and the fresh, quick brushstrokes seem to confirm this, giving the work an overall air of spontaneity. For this painting, Whistler must have prepared the full composition of blue tones on his palette before applying them - diluted and with great speed - onto the fine weave canvas. There is rubbing down in the light blue of Connie's dress and in the lower section of the painting. Four other drawings of the same sitter by Whistler are also recorded, (MacDonald 1995 (709-712)), as well as a full-length portrait in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, "Harmony in Yellow and Gold: The Gold Girl" (YMSM 190). Connie Gilchrist also posed for Frederick Leighton, "Winding the Skein" c.1878, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, as well as for John Lavery and Frank Miles. Birnie Philip Gift, 1935, not lendable.

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