Pretty Paintings from a Petty Man : Notes on J.M. Whistler

July 11 is the birthday of J.M. Whistler whose life story made me question whether I wanted to write about his art. It’s a test Edgar Degas failed.

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Whistler, “Nocturne: Blue and Silver — Chelsea,” 1871. Tate. Photo © Tate. CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)
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Whistler, “Arrangement in Gray: Portrait of the Painter (self portrait, c. 1872), Detroit Institute of Arts. Wikipedia copy of image in public domain.
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Whistler, “Symphony in White, №1: The White Girl,” 1862. National Gallery of Art. Harris Whittemore Collection. Image in the public domain.
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Details of “Symphony in White, №1: The White Girl.”
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Whistler, “Arrangement in Grey and Black №1 (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother Whistler’s Mother),” 1871. Musée d’Orsay. Wikipedia copy of image in public domain.
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Details of “Arrangement in Grey and Black №1.”
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Whistler, “Nocturne: Blue and Gold — Old Battersea Bridge,” c.1872–5. Tate. Photo © Tate CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)
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Whistler, “Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso,” 1866. Tate. Photo © Tate CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)
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Whistler, “Nocturne: Black and Gold — The Fire Wheel,” 1875. Tate. Photo © Tate CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)

“The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”

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William Merritt Chase, Portrait of Whistler, 1885. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bequest of William H. Walker, 1918. Image in public domain.
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Whistler, “Nocturne in Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket,” 1875. Detroit Institute of Arts. Image in public domain, taken from DIA website.
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Sir John Everett Millais, “Ophelia,” 1851–2. Tate. Photo © Tate Photo © Tate. CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)
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Journalist fascinated by art, history, medicine, politics and food. Has visited museums on six continents, eaten in more than 50 nations. Knows FDA, Congress.

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