Note in Pink and Brown

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

Date: ca. 1880

Medium: Charcoal and pastel on dark brown wove paper

Dimensions: 11 3/4 x 7 1/4 in. (29.8 x 18.4 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917

Accession Number: 17.97.5


This drawing is one of the nearly one hundred pastels Whistler executed in Venice in 1879-80 on a commission to make etchings for the Fine Art Society, London. Whistler's Venetian pastels fall into two categories: piquant, sometimes raw, color impressions of city and harbor; and architectural vignettes, like this example, closely related to some of his etchings. The title of this picture is consonant with the musical vocabulary with which Whistler identified much of his work. The pink "note" is the drapery hung from the balcony at upper left; the brown is the window frame to its right. The pink is echoed in the tint of the woman's dress, a few bricks of the wall, and the artist's butterfly monogram at lower right.