Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy birthday James McNeill Whistler

"The son of an engineer, Whistler went to the West Point Military Academy, where he did poorly but came away with enough acumen from drawing class to be employed mapping the entire U.S. coast for the Military, a job he hated almost as much as school, though the etching skills he acquired would serve him well later.

Whistler despised the way Americans held art and artists in low esteem in comparison to Europeans (a situation that continues to this day, as far as I can tell); and on leaving to seek artistic training in Europe, never returned to the U.S. He subsequently spent much effort, in the course of his continual re-invention of his persona, denying his birthplace in Lowell, Massachusetts — alternately claiming to be a disenfranchised Southern aristocrat or born in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Whistler’s antics, his often arrogant and abrasive personality, dandified appearance and relentless self-promotion can be as misleading as his iconic portrait of his mother in discerning the real painter."
Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks, James Abbott McNeill Whistler Wikimedia Commons
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Related posts: from the blog Lines and Colors
James Abbott McNeill Whistler
On Beauty and the Everyday: The Prints of James McNeill Whistler
Whistler's Etchings (round 2)

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