James Abbott McNeill Whistler  (American, 1834-1903) 

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James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American, July 10, 1834–July 17, 1903) was an artist who believed art should be created for the sake of creating art. Although Whistler was born in Lowell, MA, he relocated in 1843 to Russia, where his father worked for a railroad. While there, he took private art lessons, and, at the age of 11, he enrolled in the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. While staying with his family in London from 1847 to 1848, Whistler became more interested in art and photography.

After his father's death, Whistler returned with his family to his mother's hometown in Pomfret, CT. His mother sent him to Christ Church Hall School hoping that he would become a minister. Whistler had no interest in that pursuit and instead applied to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he received less-than ideal grades. After many instances of being outspoken to authority, Whistler was dismissed from the academy and went on to work as a draftsman mapping the entire US coast for military and maritime uses; he had difficulty staying interested in this work. Discovered drawing in the margins of the maps, Whistler was transferred to the etching division of the US Coast Survey, where he stayed for only two months. Whistler decided on a career in art and set out in 1855 to study in Paris. He fell into poor health, mostly due to his drinking and excessive smoking.

In 1858, his health had improved to some degree, and he began to travel through France and the Rhineland. During this time, he created a set of etchings called The French Set and painted his first self-portrait titled Portrait of Whistler with Hat, which was said to be dark, similar to the work of Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). In 1858 Whistler participated in his first exhibit showing Mere Gerard. Whistler continued to exhibit his work and travel to such locations as Chile. He titled many of his collections of art "arrangements" or "harmonies," emphasizing the parallelism he found between art and music. He credited this finding to musician and artist Fredrick Leyland (British, 1832–1892). One of Whistler's most famous paintings was Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, often referred to as Whistler's Mother. The artist died on July 17, 1903.

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James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Whistler Rotherhithe

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Whistler Rotherhithe
1860

Auction: May 15, 2014
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers
View Details | entire auction
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Whistler Lagoon Noon

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Whistler Lagoon Noon
Auction: May 15, 2014
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers
View Details | entire auction
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Alderney Street

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Alderney Street
Zygman Voss Gallery
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, The Sisters

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
The Sisters
1894-1895

Childs Gallery
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, THE DUET

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
THE DUET
1894

Christopher-Clark Fine Art
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, THE “ADAM AND EVE”, OLD CHELSEA

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
THE “ADAM AND EVE”, OLD CHELSEA
1879

Christopher-Clark Fine Art
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, BECQUET

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
BECQUET
1859

Christopher-Clark Fine Art
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, THE MUSIC-ROOM

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
THE MUSIC-ROOM
1858

Christopher-Clark Fine Art
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, LIMEHOUSE

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
LIMEHOUSE
1878

Christopher-Clark Fine Art
Past auction results (4996)  View All
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne: Palaces

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Nocturne: Palaces, 1879-1880
etching and drypoint

 

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James Abbott McNeill Whistler, The Steps, Amsterdam

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
The Steps, Amsterdam, 1889
etching and drypoint

 

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James Abbott McNeill Whistler, The Pierrot

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
The Pierrot, 1889
etching and drypoint

 

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1834   Born in Lowell, MA
1851   Enrolles in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
1855   Moves to Europe permanently
1903   Died in London
1904   International Society in London Retrospective
1904   Ecole des Beaux-Arts Retrospective, Paris
1860   Royal Academy Exhibition