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Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, American (active England), 1834 - 1903

Geography:
Made in Great Britain, Europe

Date:
1864

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
36 3/4 x 24 1/8 inches (93.3 x 61.3 cm) Framed: 46 9/16 x 34 3/8 x 2 3/4 inches (118.3 x 87.3 x 7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection

Object Location:

* Gallery 110, American Art, first floor

Accession Number:
Cat. 1112

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Label:
Lange Leizen, which is the Dutch term for "Long Ladies," is the name applied to blue-and-white Chinese porcelain decorated with images of slender women. Whistler's interest in East Asian art can be seen here in the accessories surrounding the model, many of which are based on his own art collection.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    James Abbott McNeill Whistler was a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement, which rejected the rich, stuffiness of Victorian taste in favor of a style defined by spareness, delicacy, and refinement. Central to his concept of design were Asian objects from his personal collection, such as the ceramics and the woman's embroidered Chinese robe in Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks. After the names of the colors that set the painting's tone--Whistler's way of emphasizing that his works are primarily abstract compositions of colors--the title refers to the seventeenth-century Chinese porcelain jar that the young woman holds. Lange Leizen, a Dutch phrase that Whistler translates as "Long Elizas," refers to such ware decorated with elongated figures. The Six Marks are the potter's marks on the bottom of the jar. Although Whistler's depiction of a Chinese pottery shop is much more akin to contemporary genre scenes than to his later, more adventurous compositions influenced by Japanese prints, he carved the potter's marks into the gilded frame to enhance the exoticism of the subject. Darrel Sewell, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 283.

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