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James Abbott McNeill Whistler

American, 1834–1903

1.6k followers

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Bio

American, 1834–1903

Followers
1.6k
Biography

James Abbott McNeill Whistler changed the course of art history with his radical techniques and adoption of Asian design principles, which emphasized a two-dimensional flattening of painted forms and their arrangement into abstract patterns. A London-based expatriate, Whistler embraced and promoted the doctrine that art should not serve narrative, but rather project the artist’s subjective feelings through the handling of the medium. His revolutionary methods changed existing approaches to oil paint, pastel, watercolor, etching—even interior design and the decorative arts. The flat, expressive, and radically simplified forms in his Venice pastels, and his use of fluid blue and gray pigments in his abstract nocturnes, altered how his contemporaries like Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas saw and understood art. He scandalously named one of his most famous paintings Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 (1871), suggesting the reduction of a portrait of his mother to an arrangement of formal elements.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Group
Group show at a major institution
Tate Britain, and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 3 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
The New Yorker
Biography

James Abbott McNeill Whistler changed the course of art history with his radical techniques and adoption of Asian design principles, which emphasized a two-dimensional flattening of painted forms and their arrangement into abstract patterns. A London-based expatriate, Whistler embraced and promoted the doctrine that art should not serve narrative, but rather project the artist’s subjective feelings through the handling of the medium. His revolutionary methods changed existing approaches to oil paint, pastel, watercolor, etching—even interior design and the decorative arts. The flat, expressive, and radically simplified forms in his Venice pastels, and his use of fluid blue and gray pigments in his abstract nocturnes, altered how his contemporaries like Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas saw and understood art. He scandalously named one of his most famous paintings Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 (1871), suggesting the reduction of a portrait of his mother to an arrangement of formal elements.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Group
Group show at a major institution
Tate Britain, and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 3 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
The New Yorker
Shows Featuring James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Articles Featuring James Abbott McNeill Whistler
When James Abbott McNeill Whistler Sued His Harshest Critic—and Won
Oct 30th, 2018
When James Abbott McNeill Whistler Sued His Harshest Critic—and Won
9 Famous Mothers in Art
May 3rd, 2016
9 Famous Mothers in Art
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