The White Veil, 1909

  • Willard Leroy Metcalf, American, 1858-1925

Oil on canvas

  • Unframed: 36 × 36 inches (91.4 × 91.4 cm)
  • 49 1/2 × 49 7/16 × 2 3/4 inches (125.7 × 125.6 × 7 cm)

Gift of Charles Willis Ward


On View

  • American W292


American Art before 1950

Metcalf’s use of pointillist strokes to suggest falling snow—the “veil” of the title—and the soft tonalist palette made this one of his most popular paintings, much praised by contemporary critics and art lovers alike. The square shape of the canvas adds to the sense of quiet and serenity that Metcalf sought in his work. Blue violet underpainting dotted with red unifies the composition and lends an unexpected warmth to the gray winter light. Metcalf spent the first of many winters in Cornish, New Hampshire, in 1909. This painting is one of two nearly identical canvases with the same title painted during this period.

Signed and dated, lower left corner: W. L. Metcalf '09

Charles Willis Ward 1915-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Cortissoz, Royal. “Willard L. Metcalf: An American Landscape Painter.” Appleton’s Booklovers Magazine 6 (October 1905): p. 510. Fourth Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists. Exh. cat., Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery. Buffalo, 1909, no. 111. Ausstellung Amerikanischer Kunste. Exh. cat., Konigliche Akademie der Kunste. Berlin, 1910, no. 66. [as De weisseSchleier] Burroughs, Clyde. “Pictures Loaned to Other Exhibitions.” Bulletin of the DMA 5,4 (October 1911): p. 43. Special Exhibition of Paintings by Willard L. Metcalf. Exh. cat., Detroit Museum of Art. Detroit, 1911, no. 1. A Collection of Oil Paintings by Mr. Willard L. Metcalfe [sic]. Exh. cat., City Art Museum. St. Louis, 1911, no. 2. Exhibition of Paintings by Willard L. Metcalf. Exh. cat., John Herron Art Institute. Indianapolis, 1911, no. 2. Special Exhibition of Landscapes by Mr. Willard L. Metcalf. Exh. cat., Cincinnati Art Museum. Cincinnati, 1911, no. 2. Inaugural Exhibition. Exh. cat., Museum of Art. Toledo, 1912, no. 67. Burroughs, Clyde. “Contemporary American Art: Williard L. Metcalf.” Bulletin of the DMA 7, 3 (July 1913): p. 54 (ill.). DeVeer, Elizabeth and Richard Boyle. Sunlight and Shadow: The Life and Art of Williard L. Metcalf. New York, 1967, pp. 230-231 (ill.). American Impressionism. Exh. cat., Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington. Seattle, 1980, p. 134 (ill.). Gerdts, William H. American Impressionism. New York, 1984, pp. 196-198 (ill.). Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Bunkamura Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1989, no. 73 (ill.). Henshaw, Julia P., ed. The Detroit Institute of Arts: A Visitor’s Guide. Detroit, 1995, p. 75 (ill.). Winter’s Promise: Willard Metcalf in Cornish, New Hampshire. Exh. cat., Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College. Hanover, NH, 1999, no. 38 (ill.). American Beauty: Painting and Sculpture from the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1770-1920. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 2002, pp. 96-97, no. 70 (ill.).

Willard Leroy Metcalf, The White Veil, 1909, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of Charles Willis Ward, 15.12.