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image: The Sea and Sand

The Sea and Sand

Oil painting
Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
Oil on wood panel
H x W: 13.4 x 23.4 cm (5 1/4 x 9 3/16 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
The Sea and Sand is one of the simplest and most abstract of the St. Ives paintings. Whistler began by covering his panel with an unusual dark blue ground. Probably working from the top of the panel down, he used broad horizontal strokes of gray to establish the sky. In the foreground, broader horizontal bands of a browner pigment establish the beach. A few narrow strokes of a slightly bluish white create the frothing caps of the breaking waves. The three main horizontal bands are secured by a few shorter verticals that indicate people and by the squat oval of Whistler's famous butterfly monogram.

To 1902
Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934), London, to 1902 [1]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Henry Studdy Theobald, London, in August 1902 [2]

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


[1] Undated folder note sheet, Object file. See also Original Whistler List, Purchases from Theobald, pg. 2, 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.

Former owner
Henry Studdy Theobald (C.L. Freer source) (1847 - 1934)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Freer Gallery 10: Whistler in Watercolor
ocean, United States, water
Collection(s) Area
American Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

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