Today's Memory

Today’s Memory – James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Whistler - James-Abbott-McNeill-Whistler-detail

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

July 11, 1834, Lowell, Massachusetts – July 17, 1903, London

James Abbott McNeill Whistler was an American-born, British-based artist. Averse to sentimentality and moral allusion in painting, he was a leading proponent of the credo, art for art’s sake.

Arrangement in Pink, Red, and Purple

His famous signature for his paintings was in the shape of a stylized butterfly possessing a long stinger for a tail.

Arrangement in Yellow and Gray-Effie Dean

The symbol was apt, for it combined both aspects of his personality – his art was characterized by a subtle delicacy, while his public persona was combative.

Caprice in Purple and Gold-The Golden Screen, 1864
Whistler in his Studio 1865, self-portrait

Finding a parallel between painting and music, Whistler entitled many of his paintings „arrangements”, „harmonies”, and „nocturnes”, emphasizing the primacy of tonal harmony.

Cremorne Gardens No. 2, 1877
Mother of Pearl and Silver-The Andalusian, 1888–1900

His most famous painting is Whistler’s Mother (1871), the revered and oft parodied portrait of motherhood.

Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 – Whistler’s Mother

Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time with his artistic theories and his friendships with leading artists and writers.

Nocturne in Blue and Gold-Valparaiso Bay
Nocturne in Pink und Grey-Portrait of Lady Meux

He was elected honorary member of Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, Bavaria, Germany, an officer of the Légion d’honneur, France and charter member and first president of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers.

Nocturne, Black and Gold-The Fire Wheel, 1875
Symphony in White, No. 1-The White Girl, 1862
Symphony in White, No. 2 – The Little White Girl, 1864
Symphony in White No. 3
The Little Red Cap, 1899
The Princess From The Land Of Porcelain, 1865
The Little Red House, 1884
The Thames in Ice, 1860

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