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James McNeill Whistler

He was averse to sentimentality and moral allusion in painting, and was a leading proponent of the credo "art for art's sake". His famous signature for his paintings was in the shape of a stylized butterfly possessing a long stinger for a tail. The symbol was apt, for it combined both aspects of his personality—his art was characterized by a subtle delicacy, while his public persona was combative. Finding a parallel between painting and music, Whistler entitled many of his paintings "arrangements", "harmonies", and "nocturnes", emphasizing the primacy of tonal harmony. His most famous painting is "Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1" (1871), commonly known as Whistler's Mother, the revered and oft-parodied portrait of motherhood. Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time with his artistic theories and his friendships with leading artists and writers.
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Portrait of a Young Woman (Miss Seaton) (Dorothy Seaton)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Scene on the Mersey

Here, Whistler’s brushwork is wild and full of life. He used broad strokes to saturate the paper with free washes, then detailed the lighthouse and the figures in gouache with a fine point after the washes had ... more

Fruit Shop (Little Greengrocer's Shop, Chelsea)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Sketch in St. James's Park

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Whistler the Proud – Two Faces

Mortimer Menpes (Australian, Port Adelaide 1855–1938 Pangbourne, England)

Lobster Pots (Lobster Pots – Selsea Bill)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Price's Candle-Works (Price's Candle Factory)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Alderney Street

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Temple (The Temple)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Swan and Iris (Sketch after Cecil Lawson's "Swan and Iris")

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

The Tiny Pool

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Swan and Iris (Sketch after Cecil Lawson's "Swan and Iris")

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Drury Lane

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Booth at a Fair

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Butterfly Monogram

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Nude Woman Standing

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Six Faces of Whistler

Mortimer Menpes (Australian, Port Adelaide 1855–1938 Pangbourne, England)

Head of a Boy

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Swan and Iris (Sketch after Cecil Lawson's "Swan and Iris")

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

James McNeill Whistler

Thomas Robert Way (British, London 1861–1913 London)

The Barber's (The Barber's Shop, Chelsea)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Alderney Street

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

A Fragment of Piccadilly (Piccadilly)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Suggestion by Whistler for his Portrait

Anonymous, British, 19th century

Lagoon: Noon

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Steamboat Fleet

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Woman with a Fan; Sketch of a Head

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Cutler Street, Houndsditch

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

James McNeill Whistler

Carlo Pellegrini (Italian, Capua 1839–1889 London)

Whistler as Butterfly

Portrait of James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

James McNeill Whistler, Age 14

After Sir William Boxall (British, Oxford 1800–1879 London)

Gladiator (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Map of the Western Hemisphere (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Dress Parade (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

United States Military Academy: Song of the Graduates

After James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Vives Les Debardeures [sic]!! (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

U.S. Coast Survey...Sketch of Anapaca Island in Santa Barbara Channel

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Last Page of Handwritten Journal (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Man Standing (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

View of a Coast Line (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate)

Whistler made his first etching while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a co... more

Four sketches (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Mr. Feathersanall, Lodger, Asks for a Little Wood (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Sketch of Gladiator's Head (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Head of a Man (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Thomas Winan's Family (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Drawing Fragment (Verso) (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Man Standing, Cigarette in Mouth (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Head of Man Smoking (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Christ and Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Two Female Heads and Standing Figure (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate)

Whistler made his first etching while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a co... more

Two Men Drinking (Recto) (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Jem Bags (Recto); Drawing of Female Figure (Verso) (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Well Sir! (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Pour Boire (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

(from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

40 and 50 (Man and Woman Seated) (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Architectual (?) Sketches (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

(from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Bust of Man (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

(from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Two Female Heads and Standing Figure (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate)

Whistler made his first etching while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a co... more

Oriental Figure (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Sketches of Wheels, Drums (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Christ and Two Figures (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Sir John Chester (from Dickens' Barnaby Rudge) (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Man at Table beneath Mosquito Net (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Girl with Parasol and Cadet (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Leg (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Man Smoking (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Hooded Male Head (from Sketches on The Coast Survey Plate)

Whistler made his first etching while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a co... more

The Margrave, the Prince[ss] and the Hermit (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Half-length Figure in a Monk's Cowl (Possibly a Self-portrait) (from Sketchbook)

Possibly James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Old Woman and Child in Oval (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate)

Whistler made his first etching while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a co... more

Bearded Man in Soldier's Cap (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate)

Whistler made his first etching while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a co... more

Old C'lo (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Album

This image represents one of 102 drawings in this sketchbook. James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Man Playing Guitar (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Bust of a Young Woman with Hat, Wine Glass (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Partial Text from Letter (?); Autograph (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

After Dinner (Possibly Ross Winans) (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Girl with Parasol (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Hooded Male Head (from Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate)

Whistler made his first etching while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a co... more

Sketches on the Coast Survey Plate

Whistler made his first etching while employed as a draftsman at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, D.C., between 1854 and 1855. A staff member taught him the technique and supplied him with a co... more

Three Men (Sketch in Lower Right Hand Corner of Handwritten Journal (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Monk Saying Grace, "Tibi Gracias" (Recto); Three Sketches of Lamp (Verso) (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Ross Winans Playing Violin (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Monk (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Female Figure; Wheels; Autograph (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

May 18th (55) (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Jack Shepard [sic], Edgeworth Bess and Pol (from Sketchbook)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Annie

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Little Arthur

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Annie

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Annie

During a stay in London with his sister Deborah Delano Haden while recuperating from a fall, Whistler made this etching of his niece Annie. His brother-in-law, Seymour Haden, a gifted printmaker, encouraged the... more

Little Arthur

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)

Seymour Seated (Seymour Haden, Jr., Seated)

James McNeill Whistler (American, Lowell, Massachusetts 1834–1903 London)