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Violet and Silver - The Deep Sea

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

After years of painting seascapes on a significantly smaller scale, James McNeill Whistler returned briefly to the large-format canvas to capture the effects of a hot summer day on the water near Brittany, France. According to the Chicago collector Arthur Jerome Eddy (portrait nearby), the artist painted this seascape while boating off the coast as a crewman steadied their vessel. This could account for the unusually broad handling of paint and thick touches of pigment apparent throughout the composition, particularly in the clouds and gently cresting waves. Even toward the end of his life, Whistler demonstrated his enduring passion for the myriad relationships of color offered by the ever-changing sea.


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Arts of the Americas


James McNeill Whistler


Violet and Silver - The Deep Sea


United States (Artist's nationality:)

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


Inscribed in ink on backing, upper right: "Violet & Silver. The Deep Sea."; butterfly monogram Also on verso: Exhibited in salon of the / Champ de Mars. 1894 / & / bought in my Studio, Paris/ in October of that year by / John A. Lynch, of Chicago./ J. McNeill Whistler.


50.2 × 73.3 cm (19 3/4 × 28 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Clara Margaret Lynch in memory of John A. Lynch

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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