About This Artwork

James McNeill Whistler
American, 1834–1903

Arrangement in Flesh Color and Brown: Portrait of Arthur Jerome Eddy, 1894

Oil on canvas
209.9 x 92.4 cm (82 5/8 x 36 3/8 in.)
Signed, middle right: butterfly monogram

Arthur Jerome Eddy Memorial Collection, 1931.501

A passionate collector and champion of modern art, the Chicago lawyer Arthur Jerome Eddy asked James McNeill Whistler to paint his portrait after viewing the artist’s work at the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. The two became lasting friends, and Eddy published a book on Whistler after the artist’s death in 1903. Unlike contemporaneous artists such as John Singer Sargent, who relied upon flamboyant brushwork to convey his painterly virtuosity, Whistler favored thinly painted compositions, which he called “arrangements” to emphasize his interest in color rather than subject matter. This portrait is one of Whistler’s finest, displaying the delicate color harmonies that characterize his art-for-art’s-sake mentality.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, "Catalogue of the Seventy Third Annual Exhibition," January 25-March 5, 1904, cat. 31.

Boston, Copley Hall, "Oil Paintings, Watercolors, Pastels, and Drawings. Memorial Exhibition of the works of Mr. J. McNeill Whistler, Boston," February 1904, cat. 18.

Art Institute of Chicago, "Twentieth Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings and Sculpture by American Artists," October 22-Decembeer 1, 1907, cat. 435 (as "Portrait of a Gentleman").

The Arts Club of Chicago, "Loan Portrait Exhibition," December 7-21, 1918, cat. 36.

Art Institute of Chicago, "Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Late Arthur Jerome Eddy," September 19-October 22, 1922, cat. 66.

Art Institute of Chicago, "Sargent, Whistler and Mary Cassatt," January 14-February 25, 1954, cat. 119; traveled to New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, March 25-May 23, 1954.

Art Institute of Chicago, "James McNeill Whistler," , January 13-February 25, 1968, cat. 41; traveled to Utica, Munson-Williams Proctor Institute, March 17-April 28, 1968.

Atlanta, High Museum of Art, "After Whistler", November 15, 2003-February 8, 2004; traveled to Detroit Institute of Art, March 6-May 30, 2004 (Detroit only).

Art Institute of Chicago, "Whistler's Mother: An American Icon Returns to Chicago," March 4-May 21, 2017, no cat.

Publication History

Judith A. Barter et al, American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 302-304, no. 154.

"Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, Highlights of the Collection," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2017) p. 63.

Interpretive Resources

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