Nocturne: Blue and Gold—Southampton Water

Dark marine landscape painting with shadowy ships,  yellow setting sun
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Dark marine landscape painting with shadowy ships,  yellow setting sun

Date:

1872

Artist:

James McNeill Whistler
American, 1834–1903

About this artwork

In the early 1870s James McNeill Whistler took a radical step toward abstraction with his Nocturnes series. In keeping with his art-for-art’s-sake creed, these works capture the stillness of evening while evoking the artistry of music. Unlike his earlier marine paintings, the subject of this work—an inlet along the English Channel near Southampton—is obscured by the approaching night. Large shipping vessels appear as ghostly shapes, reduced to shadowy forms by the deepening twilight, while the only points of brightness come from the subtle reflections of lights and the fragmented orb of the moon. The setting thus serves primarily as a vehicle for Whistler’s interest in the tonal harmonies of darkness.

On View

American Art, Gallery 273

Artist

James McNeill Whistler

Title

Nocturne: Blue and Gold—Southampton Water

Origin

London

Date

1872

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

Signed lower right: (butterfly monogram)

Dimensions

50.5 × 76 cm (19 7/8 × 29 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Stickney Fund

Reference Number

1900.52

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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