Middlebury College Museum of Art

Friday, March 9

Fridays at the Museum: James Whistler, Walter Greaves, and the Invention of the Nocturne

Illustrated Lecture
Time: 12:30pm
Location: Mahaney Center for the Arts, Room 125

Pieter Broucke, Professor of History of Art and Architecture


In the 1870s, James Whistler and his sometime rival Walter Greaves developed the visual genre of the nocturne. Pieter Broucke showcases two recent acquisitions—a Whistler print and a painting by Greaves—to illustrate how the nocturne, which borrows its name from Chopin’s piano sketches, aims to capture the moody stillness of the night.

Left: Walter Greaves (British, 1846-1930), Nocturne: Battersea Reach, early-1870s, oil on canvas, 15 3/4 x 23 1/4 inches. Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art. Gift (by exchange) of Wilson Farnsworth, George Mead, and Henry Sheldon, 2016.004. Right: James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903), Nocturne, 1878, lithograph on blue laid appliqué on heavy cream wove paper, 6 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches. Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art. Purchase with funds provided by the Christian A. Johnson Memorial Art Acquisition Fund and the Walter Cerf Art Fund, 2017.001.