The Embroidered Curtain

James McNeill Whistler American

Not on view

Whistler and his new wife Beatrice traveled to Amsterdam in late August 1889, intending a brief stay, but remained for two months. Seventeenth-century buildings on the Palmgracht, near the couple’s hotel, are here used to create a moody, densely patterned image that recalls the artist’s finest Venetian etchings and pays tribute to Rembrandt. The curtain mentioned in the title was likely made of lace, but the artist used the word "embroidered" to call attention to his fascination with decorative patterning, supported here by the framework of the architecture. Women and children who stand in doorways and on the sidewalk by the canal melt into their surrounds.

The Embroidered Curtain, James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London), Etching and drypoint, printed in dark brown ink on fine ivory laid paper; sixth state of ten (Glasgow)

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