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Original Artwork Information

Symphony in White, No.III
by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Date painted: 1865–1867
Oil on canvas, 51.4 x 76.9 cm
Collection: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

"The artist chose the term ‘Symphony’ to emphasise to visitors to the Royal Academy’s exhibition in 1867 that it was purely a study in colour.  Whistler felt that Victorian artists were distracted by a love of narrative from their proper artistic concern with form and colour.  Details such as the flowers were therefore added only for their decorative qualities.  However, because the models are identifiable – the artist’s mistress Joanna Hiffernan is to the left – other elements arguably do intrude." - barber.org.uk

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