James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), USA/Great Britain

Whistler was an American-born painter, who studied in Russia (as a child) and later in Paris, before settling in London. He was an acquaintance and colleague of a number of the most experimental French and British artists of the day as well as his fellow-American expatriate, the celebrated portraitist John Singer Sargeant, and a number of influential critics, including Charles Baudelaire and Theophile Gautiler.
Whistler’s style is distinguished by its simplicity, at a time when sentimentality and exuberant decoration were in vogue. He was an enthusiastic advocate of the aesthetic movement, celebrating ’art for art’s sake’, and took great delight in angering the contemporary critics with his works.
He was often inspired by music, and beginning around 1870 he began to give his paintings titles that referred to musical forms, such as ’nocturne’, ’arrangement’, ’harmony’, and ’symphony’ (as in his series of portraits entitled Symphony in White). It was also during this period that he painted his best-known work, Arrangement in Black and Grey, more commonly known as Whistler’s Mother.

Items related to James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), USA/Great Britain

View more

Articles related to James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), USA/Great Britain


5 Portraits of Women in White

The color white is often associated with peace, holiness, innocence and purity, and there's a long history of artists using the shade to align their subjects with these virtues.


5 Portraits of Women in Black

Today, black is the color of choice for women looking to appear elegant and beguiling. However, this wasn’t always the case: in the 19th century, only a specific few were portrayed sporting black dresses. 

Works of art

Maximize the exposure of your upcoming auction on Barnebys today!