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: Nocturne: Grey and Silver--Chelsea Embankment, Winter

Nocturne: Grey and Silver--Chelsea Embankment, Winter

Oil painting
Artist: James McNeill Whistler (United States, 1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
ca. 1879
Oil on canvas
H x W: 62.6 x 47.5 cm (24 5/8 x 18 11/16 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
Following a suggestion by his patron Frederick Richards Leyland, Whistler used the musical term Nocturne to title more than thirty paintings of London after dark that he created in the 1870s. When this painting was exhibited in Glasgow in 1879, a local journalist described it as fresh from the easel of this artist . . . a nocturne, the Thames by moonlight, with ice coming down the river, an effect seen by Mr. Whistler only the other night. The immediacy of the subject exists in delicate tension with the decorative quality of the overall design, with its fluid, thin washes of pigment, clearly defined boundaries, and extreme, tilted perspective.

To 1902
G. N. Stevens, Virginia Water, England [1]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from G. N. Stevens, Virginia Water, England in 1902 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Undated folder sheet note, Object file. See also Original Whistler List, Paintings, pg. 5, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
G. N. Stevens (C.L. Freer source)
G. N. Stevens (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Currently not on view
night, nocturne, river, United States, winter
Collection(s) Area
American Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.