Nude with a parasol

James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)


white and black crayon on paper

27 x 12 cm.

It is possible that this drawing was executed circa 1868 at the same time as a small chalk study, Woman with Parasol that relates to the second figure from the right in Symphony in Blue and Pink, one of the panels of The Six Projects. The panels set out Whistler's ideas for a never-completed scheme of architectural decoration and though open to interpretation imply a journey in search of Venus, the embodiment of beauty and love. One of the six panels depicts Venus herself, a leitmotif throughout Whistler's oeuvre and it may be that our sketch was one of a series, which he did for the picture. However, our drawing is more finished than Woman with Parasol, and it could be that though its source of inspiration was the idea behind The Six Projects it wasn't envisaged as a sketch for any particular figure and Whistler perhaps retouched it at a later date as he did several of his early drawings. [Commentary by Peter Nahum continued below]

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