The Lost Symphony: Whistler & the Perfection of Art

Girl with Cherry Blossom

Rough painting of a woman in diaphanous dress and a red cap, arranging a cherry sapling with pink blossomsThis fragment, cut from the original canvas, is all that remains of Whistler’s painting The Three Girls. The ghostly silhouette of brushstrokes around the girl’s head and the overworked yet still unresolved forms of her fingers and toes confirm the artist’s struggle to perfect each detail. They also suggest that even at this advanced stage, the painting remained unfinished.

James McNeill Whistler
Oil on canvas
The Courtauld Art Gallery, London. Private Collection (on loan to The Courtauld Gallery)