Talk:James Abbott McNeill Whistler

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Things that should definitely be added to the article:

  • Courbet.
  • Joanna Hiffernan.

Sam Hocevar 03:03, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Should this be cut?[edit]

"After the Ruskin trial, everything he mentioned or wrote about his work, and especially everything he told his biographers was done in a way in which he could dissociate himself from the English school of painting. His main purpose was to lose any relations he had with the couple of enemies he had made among the Royal Academicians, and the artists who he had been close to during the 1860's. Despite his attempts to give the notion that he did not belong to any school, he is without a doubt one of the few Victorian painters who is known for revitalizing the 'grand manner' of British painting. [James McNeil Whistler, 23]"

The quotation doesn't seem to bear on any particular source, and it makes unverified and unsupported statements about Whistler's activities after the trial - some that I think definitely incorrect, having read contemporary articles in the New York Times wishing that Whistler would visit the country as he and his work did so infrequently.

Also: I'd like to link these articles (about Whistler's publication of The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, and another individual attack on a critic) to show more of his biting wit, and further add to the biographical detail which is really quite sparse.

I'd also like to resolve some of the bizarre page sections. It makes no sense to me why the moderate success of Whistler's Mother is recorded as the first section of his Controversies.

I'd like to discover some sources about what it was of the White Girl that caused controversy. Cartoons show it as being a notable inclusion in the Salon des Refuses, and I know it was liked by some. I don't know that it received any note-worthy, negative review. And I'll place the painting in its correct place on the page.

Finally, I'd think it best to note the uncertainty of the identification of Jo as the lady in Courbet's L'Origine du monde. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ocarrollcian (talkcontribs) 01:58, 23 May 2008 (UTC) Ocarrollcian 02:01, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Cut this[edit]

"An initiator in his own generation, and ever tastefully experimental, Whistler no doubt has found enjoyment in the variety of the mediums he has worked in, and in the variety of subjects he has brilliantly tackled. The absence of concentration in the Whistlerian temperament, the lack of great continuity of effort, may probably prove a drawback to his taking exactly the place as a painter of oil pictures, which, in other circumstances, his genius and his taste would most certainly have secured for him. In the future Whistler must be accounted, in oil painting, a master exquisite but rare. But the number and the range of his etched subjects and the extraordinary variety of perception and of skill which he has brought to bear upon the execution of his nearly three hundred coppers, ensure, and have indeed already compassed, the acceptance of him as a master among masters in that art of etching. Rembrandt's, Van Dyck's, Meryon's, Claude's, are, in fact, the only names which there is full warranty for pronouncing beside his own."

I cut the above because it seems more like a review or an exhibition pamphlet paragraph, than encylopedia material. --sparkit (talk) 03:44, May 9, 2005 (UTC)

On 16th September 2005, a bronze life-sized statue of whistler was unveiled on the north side of Battersea Bridge, London. There was no prior announcement of this event, so it is not known if any dignitory was present.

And this[edit]

I have also cut the following paragraph as unduly subjective. This, and the snippit above, appear to have been taken verbatim from the 1911 Britannica. --Worldofdew 13:05, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

"Of these, the main characteristics are precision and vivacity; freedom, flexibility, infinite technical resource, at the service always of the most alert and comprehensive observation; an eye that no picturesqueness of light and shade, no interesting grouping of line, can ever escape — an eye, that is emancipated from conventionality, and sees these things therefore with equal willingness in a cathedral and a mass of scaffolding, in a Chelsea shop and in a suave nude figure, in the facade of a Flemish palace and in a "great wheel" at West Kensington"..." Some of the lithographs are of figures slightly draped; two or three of the very finest are of Thames subjects — including a "nocturne" at Limehouse, of unimaginable and poetic mystery; others are bright and dainty indications of quaint prettiness in the old Faubourg St Germain, and of the sober lines of certain Georgian churches in Soho and Bloomsbury."

Opening section[edit]

What does this mean?

for Whistler embraced a refined aesthetic while at the same time wielding a formidable public persona

Surely this could be reworded into something clearer. WhiteCat 07:46, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

  • The line has been rewritten. JNW 10:27, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Unrelated passage[edit]

I've reverted the following passage about the marvelous Valparaiso painting. It had no obvious relationship to the heading 'Controversies', and its prominence and subsequent need for mention were not explained. Maybe when the bio is expanded to include further mention of Whistler's travels to S. America...JNW (talk) 22:36, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Whistler, who was traveling on board an American ship, painted his famous "Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay" (1866) the night before the Valparaiso bombardment. It shows the Chilean merchant fleet at their moorings waiting to be destroyed by the Spaniards.

New file File:James Abbott McNeill Whistler by Walter Greaves.jpg[edit]

James Abbott McNeill Whistler by Walter Greaves.jpg

Recently the file File:James Abbott McNeill Whistler by Walter Greaves.jpg (right) was uploaded and it appears to be relevant to this article and not currently used by it. If you're interested and think it would be a useful addition, please feel free to include it. Dcoetzee 00:12, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Dcoetzee. A better and more famous portrait of Whistler is by Chase: [1] JNW (talk) 00:32, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Not a problem, up to your editorial discretion. :-) Dcoetzee 06:20, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Date of birth[edit]

The article, matching the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, gives a date of birth of 10th July 1834. The New York Times here, , says 14th July.

Which is right? ChapterandVerse (talk) 19:00, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

TIME and the World Almanac also cite July 10 as his dob. However, letters from Whistler's mother ( confirm that July 11 is his dob. Kapooz (talk) 23:16, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

I don't think such a letter is conclusive. She may have started it on 10 July, was interrupted, and finished it on 11 July. The birthdate of 11 July is not supported by any reputable sources, is it? -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 09:33, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Another new file[edit]

James McNeill Whistler - La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine - Google Art Project.jpg

A very high-resolution work of James Whistler (La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine) from the Google Art Project (left). Feel free to use if useful. Dcoetzee 10:11, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Alexander Koritsky[edit]

I'm from Russia and not well know English language. Please excuse me. I would like to somebody, who has good knowledge of the English language, add in section "Russia and England" information, that the name of the artist, who gave drawing lessons to James Abbott Whistler was Alexander Koritsky. That is my article in Russian WIKI about this artist: Alexander O. Koritsky Here is the link to the magazine article in English about their friendship: Galina Andreeva "Whistler and Russia" /Magazine "THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY" special issue 2011. I am a descendant of the brother of Alexander Koritsky.--User:Anford (talk) 07:38, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

File:Whistler Selbstporträt.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Whistler Selbstporträt.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on July 17, 2012. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2012-07-17. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 17:14, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Picture of the day
James Abbot McNeill Whistler

Arrangement in Gray: Portrait of the Painter, a self-portrait painting by American-born British-based artist James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834–1903). Whistler, best known for the painting Whistler's Mother, was the founder of the tonalist movement in art, a leader in the Aesthetic Movement and a proponent of "art for art's sake". Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, he lived in Russia, England, and the US in his youth, studied art in France, and finally moved permanently to London in 1859. He was highly influential and during his life, he affected two generations of artists, in Europe and in the US.

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