Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Black: Portrait of Theodore Duret

Artist: James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Date: 1883

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 76 1/8 x 35 3/4 in. (193.4 x 90.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1913

Accession Number: 13.20


The Parisian collector and art critic Théodore Duret (1838–1927), who was an early champion of Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, and the Impressionists, posed for this portrait in Whistler's London studio. At Duret's request, Whistler portrayed him in evening dress, but suggested that he hold a pink domino—a hooded masquerade robe—that echoed the flesh tones and relieved the austere black and gray palette. A quintessential demonstration of Whistler's mature style, the portrait combines a skillfully characterized head with a costume and setting intended to create a harmonious "arrangement."