biografía de James Abbot McNeill WHISTLER (1834-1903)

Lugar de nacimiento: Lowell, MA

Lugar de defunción: London, England

Direcciones: London, England (since 1859)

Profesión: Portrait, figure, and landscape painter; etcher; lithographer, writer, teacher

Estudios: probably with his father, George Washington Whistler [1800-49] who had taught drawing at West Point [1821-22]; Imperial Acad. FA, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1845; Pomfret, CT, 1849-51; West Point, 1851-54 (flunked out); Paris, under Gleyre, 1855 (briefly).

Exposiciones: NAD, 1868, 1874; Paris Salon, 1859-1900 ( medal, 1883, gold 1889, medal1900); Munich Int. Expo, 1892 (medal); AIC; PAFA, 1893-1894 (gold), 1896-1903 (and posthumously); London FA Soc., 1883; Copley Soc., Boston, 1904; Armory Show, 1913. In 1863 his Symphony in White" (NGA, Wash., DC) was refused at the Paris Salon but was hung at the Salon des Refusées, where it created a sensation."

Asociaciones: Officer, Legion of Honor; Acad. St. Luke, Rome; Royal Acad. Bavaria; Soc. British Artists, 1884 (pres., 1886; resigned after dispute, 1888); Int. Soc. PS&G, London (pres./founder) 1898; Royal Acad., Dresden; RSA; Soc. Nat. Beaux-Arts, Paris.

Obra: MMA; NMAA; NGA; BMFA; AIC; PMA; Tate, London; Louvre, Paris; Freer Gal. Art, Wash., DC (the Peacock Room," which he decorated to hold the Oriental porcelains of Frederick R. Leyland); Detroit IA; Glasgow AM; Shelburne (VT) Mus.; Taft Mus., Cincinnati"

Comentarios: Whistler spent his childhood in the U.S. and Russia (1842-49). After leaving West Point in 1854, he worked for a year in the Coast and Geodetic Survey as a draftsman. In 1855 he left for Europe, never to return to the United States. He spent four years in Paris as part of the cafÈ society of avant-garde artists, writers, and poets that included his close friends Henri Fantin-Latour and Alphonse Legros, as well as Manet, Degas, Charles Baudelaire and Stephane Mallarme. He was among the earliest artists to incorporate the decorative design elements of Japonisme to manipulate two-dimensional space rather than offer a window to reality. By 1859 Whistler had settled permanently in London, but continued to visit Paris and traveled extensively throughout Europe and North Africa. He opened his AcadÈmie Carmen in Paris, 1889 (briefly called AcadÈmie Whistler") and enlisted the help of his friend, Frederick MacMonnies. The new school immediately drew hundreds of students away from the other schools in Paris. However, Whistler's diminishing appearances resulted in the school closing in 1901. Among his leading American students were F. Frieske and H.S. Hubbell. Witty and caustic, his fascinating personality kept him constantly before the public. In 1878, he sued John Ruskin for libeling his work. Whistler won the case ó and one farthing ó then went bankrupt. Ruskin had a mental breakdown. The pervasive and lasting influence of Whistler cannot be overemphasized . . . even the artistic way in which exhibitions are hung today owes a debt to this exacting master. He is also ranked with Rembrandt as the greatest of etchers, and his "Nocturne" lithographs are among the best the medium has ever offered. Even his frame designs were of great influence, for he perceived the frame as an extension of the art. His fluted reed mouldings have come to be known as "Whistler frames." Signature note: He typically signed his oils as "Whistler," but frequently applied his famous butterfly symbol in many variations. Author: "Ten O'Clock Lecture;" The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (1890).

Fuentes: G&W; WW01; an early biography is The Life of James McNeill Whistler by Elizabeth and Joseph Pennell (1908). See also Park, Mural Painters in America, Part I; James Warren Lane, Whistler (New York, 1942); Whistler Journal (1921); Stanley Weintraub, Whistler: A Biography (New York: Weybright and Talley, 1974); Andrew McLaren Young, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler (Yale Univ. Press, 1980); David P. Curry, "Whistler and Decoration" Antiques (Nov. 1984, p.1186); Linda Merill, The Peacock Room: A Cultural Biography (Freer Gallery, with Yale Univ. Press, 1998); The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler ( 2-vol. catalogue raisonnÈ, Chicago: AIC, 1998); Baigell, Dictionary; American Painter-Etcher Movement 52; Muller, Paintings and Drawings at the Shelburne Museum, 138 (w/repro.); frame info courtesy Eli Wilner Co., NYC; Falk, Exh. Record Series.

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