A Study in Red

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Historical period(s)
Drawing; crayon and pastel on brown paper
H x W: 27.7 x 18.3 cm (10 7/8 x 7 3/16 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


United States, woman

To 1909
Wallis and Son, The French Gallery, London, to 1909 [1]

From 1909 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Wallis and Son, The French Gallery in 1909 [2]

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


[1] See Accession List, Collections Management office, as well as List of Whistler Purchases since Making up the Smithsonian Inventory, pg. 12, 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.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Wallis and Son, The French Gallery (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


"Take the pastels. Whistler did not discover the medium, but he certainly found a fresh use for it. Instead of rubbing the colour all over the paper, and generally endeavouring to imitate the effect of an oil painting, Whistler made a more crayon-like use of his pastel stick. He drew rather than painted. His colour he used sparingly with dainty, incisive touches. The result was a poetic suggestiveness of form and gem-like brilliancy of colour never seen before nor equalled since."

Frank Rutter, Round the Galleries, Sunday Special & Times, March 26, 1905. Whistler Scrapbook 5, p. 42, Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art Archives.

Published References
  • Margaret F. MacDonald. James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels, and Watercolours : A Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven, 1995. .
  • David Park Curry. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1984. p. 276, pl. 279.
  • Pascal Forthuny. Notes sur Whistler. vol. 30, 3e periode Paris, November 1903. p. 385.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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