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Grey and Silver: Old Battersea Reach

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834–1903)

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.


On View, Gallery 273


Arts of the Americas


James McNeill Whistler


Grey and Silver: Old Battersea Reach


London (Place depicted)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed, lower left: "Whistler 63"


50.8 × 68.6 cm (20 × 27 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Honoré and Potter Palmer

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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