About This Artwork

James McNeill Whistler
American, 1834-1903

The Garden, 1891

Transfer lithograph in black on ivory laid paper
170 x 185 mm (image); 320 x 203 mm (sheet)

Bequest of Bryan Lathrop, 1917.568

During the 1870s Whistler began entertaining at home, presiding over dinner parties and Sunday breakfasts that included other artists, dealers, and collectors among the guests. This lithograph records a similar but more informal gathering—a tea in the garden of the Whistlers’ house in Chelsea. The attendees have been identified as (from left to right) Marguerite Thomas, wife of the playwright Brandon Thomas, one of whose children was painted by Whistler; artists and Whistler followers Walter Sickert and Sidney Starr; Brandon Thomas; Beatrice Whistler; and Ethel Birnie Philip, Beatrice’s sister. According to Starr’s recollections, the Whistlers received guests for tea out of doors on summer Sundays.

— Exhibition label, Whistler and Roussel: Linked Visions, June 20 – September 27, 2015, Galleries 124–127.

This work is featured in the online catalogue Whistler and Roussel: Linked Visions, which accompanied an Art Institute exhibition of the same title. The catalogue explores the artistic collaboration between James McNeill Whistler and Theodore Roussel and offers a new perspective on the artists, their circle, and resulting innovations in nineteenth-century art.

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