James Whistler Biography and Artwork

James Abbott McNeill Whistler was a prominent American-born artist known for his nocturnal London cityscapes, full-length portraits, etchings, and lithographs. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1834 to Major George Whistler and Anna McNeill, he spent part of his youth in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he received his early education at the Imperial Academy of Sciences.

Although Whistler briefly attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, he was dismissed for failing to keep up with chemistry lessons. He later moved to London to study art and eventually became a leading proponent of “art for art’s sake.” His signature on paintings took the form of a stylized butterfly.

Whistler’s work is characterized by its lack of moral allusion or sentimentality. Instead, he focused on aesthetic beauty and often incorporated musical themes into his paintings. He also experimented with unconventional techniques such as printing on silk instead of paper and using various metal plates for etchings.

Plagued by financial difficulties throughout his career, Whistler nevertheless left behind an enduring artistic legacy. He died in London in 1903 but remains celebrated today as one of the most influential artists of the late 19th century whose works are still studied and admired worldwide.

All James Whistler Artwork on Artchive

Artwork Name Year Medium
Symphony In White, No. 1: The White Girl 1862 Oil On Canvas
Wapping 1860-4 Oil On Canvas
Nocturne: Blue And Gold - St Mark's, Venice 1879-80
Red And Black: The Fan 1891-94 Oil On Canvas
Purple And Rose: The Lange Leizen Of The Six Marks 1864 Oil On Canvas
Peacock Room 1876-77
Fighting Peacocks c. 1923
The Lime-burner 1859 Etching And Drypoint Printed In Black Ink On Cream Laid Paper With Watermark Of Bricked Arch In Shield Surrounded By Stylized Foliage
Arrangement In Flesh Colour And Black: Portrait Of Theodore Duret 1883-84 Oil On Canvas
Cremorne Gardens, No. 2 1872-77 Oil On Canvas
Nocturne: Blue And Silver - Chelsea 1871 Oil On Wood
Nocturne: Blue And Silver - Cremorne Lights 1872 Oil On Canvas
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2 Portrait of Thomas Carlyle 1872-73 Oil on Canvas
At The Piano 1858-59 Oil on Canvas
Brown and Gold 1895 - 1900 Oil on Canvas
Harmony in Grey and Green Miss Cicely Alexander 1872-74 Oil on Canvas
Nocturne in Black and Gold The Falling Rocket c.1875 Oil on Board
Nocturne Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge 1872-77 Oil on Canvas
Symphony in White, No. 2 The Little White Girl 1864 Oil on Canvas
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