Physical Dimensions: w100.3 x h77.4 x d6.5 (work with frame)
Label Copy: During the late summer and early fall of 1865, Whistler traveled to the Normandy region of France to the resort town of Trouville and painted there with fellow-artist Gustave Courbet. Although Courbet later claimed Whistler as a student, Whistler's painting style had already begun to depart from Courbet's signature thick application of paint. Sea and Rain is characteristic of Whistler's understated palette and thin veils of paint; this view of the sea, sky, and beach, inhabited by a solitary figure, provides no narrative content and scant specifics about the site or weather. Nevertheless, Sea and Rain is a highly nuanced painting that accurately evokes, rather than describes, the cool, damp, early autumn day at the beach. The melancholy figure, partly obscured by the diaphanous blue area of a tidal pool, becomes a precisely placed accent within the composition. This tonal and lyrical composition does not seem startling to viewers of the twenty-first century accustomed to abstract art, but such understated minimalism in Whistler's paintings stood at odds with the highly finished Academic painting of the period.