Portrait of Frederick R. Leyland

James McNeill Whistler American

Not on view

This is one of two (see also 40.91.7) informal yet enigmatic portraits Whistler made of his most significant patron while working on a full-length oil portrait of Leyland (Freer Gallery of Art, Washington) at the sitter’s house near Liverpool, England. The shipping magnate Leyland was an aggressive businessman but an indulgent, even nurturing, patron who fostered the critical endeavors of Whistler’s early maturity. Whistler called Leyland “the Liverpool Medici,” a fair characterization of his patron’s self-image and the one projected in the full-length portrait, hand on hip with one leg forward. The two drawings, which in medium and support as well as in the subject’s pose and dress suggest that both were done in a single sitting, relate to the oil only in the foil of darkness out of which the figure is revealed.

Portrait of Frederick R. Leyland, James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London), Conté crayon and white chalk on brown wove paper, American

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