UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Biography

Elbert Jan Van Wisselingh, ca 1848-??

Nationality: Dutch
Date of Birth: 1848 ca
Place of Birth:
Date of Death:
Place of Death:

Identity:

Elbert Jan Van Wisselingh was a Dutch art dealer. He married Isabel Angus, the sister of the Glasgow dealer Craibe Angus.

Life:

In the late 1860s Elbert van Wisselingh worked in Paris as a trainee manager at Goupil's Gallery. Wisselingh went on to work in Amsterdam, The Hague and London and became one of the main dealers for the Hague school along with Goupil, the French Gallery, Knoedler and Vose. J. H. de Bois, a leading dealer, was for a time employed by Van Wisselingh & Co.

Van Wisselingh & Co. handled the works of a number of important contemporary Dutch painters, draughtsmen and etchers, such as Vincent van Gogh, Willem de Zwart and Johannes Albert Neuhuys. When in his last years the Dutch artist Matthijs Maris ceased painting, he was supported financially by Elbert J. van Wisselingh.

A number of Whistler paintings went through the hands of Wisselingh, including Moreby Hall (M.908), Sketch for 'La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine' (YMSM 49), Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181), Arrangement in Yellow and Grey: Effie Deans (YMSM 183) and The Violinist (YMSM 422). In 1889 Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101), Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181) and Arrangement in Yellow and Grey: Effie Deans (YMSM 183) were shown at the Tentoonstelling van Kunstwerken van Levende Meesters in Amsterdam and Whistler was awarded a gold medal. Wisselingh told Whistler that he hoped to find 'a genial home' for Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181) in Holland [#07098]. He declared that 'James Maris, for whose opinions I care most thinks it is beautiful' [#07100]. However, Baron and Baronness, to whom he also showed Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101), bought neither works. In 1891 Sketch for 'La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine' (YMSM 49) was exhibited by Wisselingh at his Dutch Gallery in London. From 1889 until 1897 Whistler and Wisselingh were in correspondence.

Wisselingh was listed among foreign printsellers at 48 Buitenhof, La Hague, Holland, in The Year's Art (London, 1891). In 1892 he was recorded as a picture dealer at 26 Old Bond Street, London, and in 1893 he had moved to 14 Brook Street, Hanover Square, W. (London Post Office directories, 1892 and 1893). In 1895 Walter Sickert had a retrospective exhibition at the Dutch Gallery, 14 Brook Street, owned by Wisselingh.

In 1898 an interior design workshop was established in Amsterdam by Wisselingh & Co. The Kunstwerkplaats manufactured designs for furniture, batik and metalwork by Gerrit Willem Dijsselhof, C. A. Lion Cachet and T. W. Nieuwenhuis. In 1924 the workshop went into liquidation.

In 1900 Mervyn Macartney designed Frithwood House, Hampshire for Wisselingh.

Bibliography:

Gould, Brian Merton, Two Van Gogh Contacts: E. J. Van Wisselingh, art dealer; Daniel Cottier, glass painter and decorator, Bedford Park, 1969; Heijbroek, J. F., and Margaret F. MacDonald, Whistler and Holland, Amsterdam, c1997; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995; Dupuits, Petra, 'Van Wisselingh and Co.', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, accessed 14 May 2002, http://www.groveart.com; Heijbroek, J. F., and E.L. Wouthuysen, Portret van een kunsthandel, de firma Van Wisselingh en zijn compagnons, 1838-heden, Zwolle, 1999.