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Creator Name: Greaves, Walter
Creator Nationality: European; British
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1841 - 1930
Biography: Walter Greaves, who began life as the son of a Chelsea boat builder and was initially trained as a shipwright and boatman, was a painter, etcher, and topographical draftsman. As an artist he was essentially self-taught until the early 1860s, when he and his brother Henry (1844-1904) met James Abbott McNeil Whistler (1834-1903). They became Whistler's pupils, studio assistants, advisers on Thames topography, and friends for nearly two decades. Walter's earliest oil paintings are charming in their naiveté, and he produced a significant number of etchings and drawings of views in Chelsea. Under Whistler's direct tutelage, Greaves painted his most inspired pictures, "Nocturnes" or "Moonlights," in imitation of his master's most successful landscape inventions. Their relationship cooled in the 1890s, and Greaves lapsed into obscurity until rediscovered by William Marchant, owner of the prestigious Goupil Galleries. Marchant organized a major Greaves retrospective in 1911, but rather than advance the impoverished artist's reputation, it precipitated a vitriolic exchange in the press between Marchant and Whistler's biographer and champion, Joseph Pennell, who accused Greaves of deception and plagiarism. In true Whistlerian fashion, Marchant countered with an eighty-page pamphlet, A Reply to an Attack Made by One of Whistler's Biographers on a Pupil of Whistler Mr. Walter Greaves (London, 1911), but neither this elaborate defense nor the public support Greaves received from Whistler's most successful student, Walter Sickert (1860-1942), could sustain the Greaves revival. The artist died destitute as a Poor Brother of London's Charterhouse.
Creator Birth Place: London, 4 July 1846
Creator Death Place: London, 28 November 1930
Creator Name-CRT: Walter Greaves
Title: Gray and Silver: A Nocturne
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1880
Creation End Date: 1900
Creation Date: c. 1880-1900
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on canvas
Dimensions: Unframed: 51cm x 58.7cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1964.361
Credit Line: Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund
Provenance: Sold by Messrs. Dowdeswell & Dowdeswell, at the death of C. W. Dowdeswell at London sale, Christie's, 7-9 February 1917 (lot 308), W. Greaves, Grey and Silver: A Nocturne, 19½ x 13½ in., for £11:11:-: to Hugh Blaker. Bought in 1945 by Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London. Sold to Beryl Joyce. Sold by her at London sale, Christie's, 5 July 1963 (lot 15), Whistler, Nocturne in Silver and Grey, signed with butterfly, 19 x 23 in., bought in and returned to Beryl Joyce. Bought back by Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London. Sold to Durlacher Bros. New York. Purchased by the CMA in 1964.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1964.361
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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