Did Errol own “The Falling Rocket” by James Whistler?

25 Aug

“The Falling Rocket” by James Whistler


As promised, here is the information about ownership of James Whistler's “The Falling Rocket”

The following is the information given to me by Kenneth Meyer, Curator of the Detroit Institute of Art, the current owner since 1946 of the painting, which proofs to 99% or so that Errol did not own the painting.

Hi Tina: All I know is the information in Andrew McLaren Young, et. al., The Paintings of James McNeill
, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980). Which
states that it was bought by Charles Sessler at Parke-Bernet on May 10,
1940), exhibited in New Britain in 1943, acquired by Knoedler Gallery in
NY who lent it to Toronto in 1944, sold by Knoedler to Scott &
Fowles (dealers) in 1946; and that they sold it to Dexter Ferry who gave
it to us.

If any more recent information has turned up,
it would probably be included on the provenance information given in the
Centre For Whistler Studies on-line database to find that, just google
Centre for Whistler Studies and follow directions.……

I suppose there is a
chance someone else could have owned it in the period 1940-1946, or
perhaps had it “on approval” for a sale which was not consummated. If
you turn up any convincing evidence for such an additional owner, I
would love to see it.


Kenneth John Myers,
Ph.D, Chief Curator, Curator of American Art, Detroit Institute of
Arts, 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202


Btw, due to my joking remark in the other post of mine – about the painting would have fit into Errol's life style – I am providing this link – if you are interested – it is the story of the lawsuit connected with the painting.…

I wonder how many paintings Errol owned – any insiders out there?

— Tina


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  1. Anonymous

    August 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks for digging into it, Tina, very interesting! I wonder if this painting would have been to Errol's taste at all? It is pretty modern, and I would say that he was more the “classic” type concerning art (cf. his taste in music and his other paintings?). Correct me if I'm wrong.

  2. Anonymous

    August 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    You are perfectly right – Errol was the Classic Man!
    The remark I made was just in a joking way.

  3. Anonymous

    August 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Whatever happened to the John Decker portrait of Errol Flynn?

  4. Anonymous

    August 29, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    The less-than-masterful “painting” is in the possession of Patrice in Jamaica.

  5. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Linc Hurst told me that Pat told him the painting flew out one of her windows in a hurricane and landed on the wet grass, damaged. It was retrieved but in what exact condition I don't know… it was painted on cardboard, I think…

  6. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Hi David;
    John Decker painted Errol on a CARDBOARD? Somebody must be kidding – is that for real?
    It wasn't an oil on canvas? I am stunt?
    I wonder what the picture looks like today and in particular after a hurricane?