About this artwork
James McNeill Whistler painted marine subjects throughout his career. For several years beginning in 1855, the expatriate American artist divided his time between London and Paris; in the latter, he was exposed to the bold realism and thickly impastoed surfaces of the paintings of Gustave Courbet. The older artist’s influence shaped Whistler’s depiction of the Thames River, a subject that frequently appeared in his work after he moved to London in 1863. In this painting, he focused on the river’s industrial nature—boats and barges, laboring men, and smoking chimneys—which featured so largely in urban life. Yet despite the realism of the subject, Whistler unified the composition with deft brushwork and a subtle palette of brown and gray that anticipates his later interest in delicate tonal harmonies.
- James McNeill Whistler
- Grey and Silver: Old Battersea Reach
- Oil on canvas
- Signed, lower left: "Whistler 63"
- 50.8 × 68.6 cm (20 × 27 in.)
- Gift of Honoré and Potter Palmer