Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Variations in Violet and Grey—Market Place, Dieppe

Artist:
James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)
Date:
1885
Medium:
Gouache and watercolor on off-white wove paper, mounted on academy board
Dimensions:
7 15/16 x 5 in. (20.2 x 12.7 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Gift of Douglass Campbell, Richard Strachan, and Stephen M. Strachan, in memory of Mrs. Douglass Campbell and Mrs. William Lyman Campbell, 2000
Accession Number:
2000.512
Not on view
During Whistler's visit in 1885 to the Normandy seaside resort of Dieppe, he captured the busy market square from a high vantage point and accentuated the liveliness of the scene by using his sheet in a vertical format. The result was one of his most delightful and complex watercolors, filled with energy, variety, and interest despite its surprisingly small size. The sheet offers a catalogue of the techniques Whistler had mastered by the mid-1880s, the zenith of his work in watercolor. Precise brushstrokes create picturesque figures gathered in the foreground, abstract dabs suggest the distant crowd, and delicate washes indicate old buildings around the square. The title, "Variations in Violet and Gray," invokes both the musical associations that Whistler so often pursued in creating and naming his works and his preference for harmonious arrangements distilled from the world of appearances.

Following the successful London exhibition of the watercolor in 1886, it was shown in Paris in 1887, to acclaim and appreciation by contemporaries such as Camille Pissarro, and in New York in 1889. Its rich exhibition history enhancees its importance, which Whistler himself appears to have recognized.
Signature: [lower left]: (butterfly monogram)

Inscription: [on verso at upper left in script]: 18) aj (partially removed and crossed out)
[at upper center]: No 11 (crossed out)
[at left center in script]: No 19 aj
Related Objects

View of a Coast Line (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate)

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London) Date: 1854–55 Medium: Etching; proof impression of the only state (Glasgow 1); this is a fragment cut from the upper portion of "Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate" (Kennedy no. 1) by Whistler and mounted on a board with six other related fragments. Cited by Glasgow as the earliest known impression. Accession: 1970.121.1 On view in:Not on view

Fumette

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London) Date: 1858 Medium: Etching; fifth state of five (Glasgow); printed in black ink on tan chine on off-white wove paper (chine collé) Accession: 1970.121.80 On view in:Not on view

Little Arthur

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London) Date: 1857–58 Medium: Etching; fourth state of four (Glasgow); printed in black ink on off-white chine mounted on off-white wove paper Accession: 17.3.2 On view in:Not on view

The Unsafe Tenement (The Old Farm)

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London) Date: 1858 Medium: Etching; third state of four (Glasgow); printed in black ink on tan (darkened) chine on white wove paper (chine collé) Accession: 83.1.37 On view in:Not on view

Vauxhall Bridge

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London) Date: 1861 Medium: Etching and drypoint; second state of two (Glasgow); printed in black ink on fine buff fibrous laid Japan Accession: 83.1.29 On view in:Not on view