Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

James Abbott McNeill Whistler – Landscapes

James McNeill Whistler - Southend Pier
James Abbott McNeill Whistler – Landscapes

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) was an American artist active during the American Gilded Age and based primarily in the United Kingdom. He was averse to sentimentality and moral allusion in painting, and was a leading proponent of the credo “art for art’s sake.”

He found a parallel between painting and music and entitled many of his paintings “arrangements,” “harmonies,” and “nocturnes,” emphasizing the primacy of tonal harmony. Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time with his artistic theories and his friendships with leading artists and writers.

A Tour of James Abbott McNeill Whistler – Landscapes

Southend Pier by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Southend Pier by James Abbott McNeill Whistler depicts groups of people walking at the water’s edge. Southend Pier, a major landmark in Southend-on-Sea, in southeastern Essex, England, is in the background.

In the early 19th century, Southend was growing as a seaside holiday resort. The coast at Southend consists of extensive mudflats, so the sea is never deep even at full tide. The pier was built to allow boats to reach Southend at all tides. By 1848 it was the longest pier in Europe at 7,000 feet (2,100 m). By the 1850s, the railway had reached Southend with it a significant influx of visitors from London. After this painting was made, it was decided to replace the pier with a new iron pier.

Southend Pier

  • Title:                         Southend Pier
  • Artist:                       James McNeill Whistler
  • Year:                        1884
  • Medium:                  Watercolor on paper
  • Dimensions              Height: 182 mm (7.16″); Width: 257 mm (10.11″)
  • Museum:                  Freer Gallery of Art

~~~

“Green and Silver: Beaulieu, Touraine”

James McNeill Whistler - Green and Silver- Beaulieu, Touraine

“Green and Silver: Beaulieu, Touraine” by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

“Green and Silver: Beaulieu, Touraine” by James Abbott McNeill Whistler depicts a green meadow, with a house and trees in the distance. A child with red pants stands in the foreground, with another figure beyond in the background.

Green and Silver: Beaulieu, Touraine

  • Title:                          Green and Silver: Beaulieu, Touraine
  • Artist:                        James McNeill Whistler
  • Year:                         1888
  • Medium:                   Watercolor on linen mounted on board
  • Dimensions              Height: 129 mm (5.07″); Width: 216 mm (8.50″)
  • Museum:                  Freer Gallery of Art 

~~~

Sea and Rain by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

James McNeill Whistler - Sea and Rain

Sea and Rain by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Sea and Rain by James Abbott McNeill Whistler depicts a melancholy figure, partly obscured by the translucent blue of a tidal pool. This tonal composition does not startle modern viewers accustomed to abstract art. Still, the minimalism in Whistler’s paintings was unorthodox to a public that was used to the highly finished Academic painting of the period. This highly nuanced painting that evokes the cool, damp, early autumn day at the beach was a new form of art for 1865.

Whistler traveled to the resort town of Trouville in Normandy, France, to paint with fellow-artist Gustave Courbet. Whistler’s painting style was unlike Courbet’s signature thick application of paint. Whistler’s understated palette and thin veils of color do not provide a narrative with minimal details about the site or weather.

Sea and Rain

  • Title:                          Sea and Rain
  • Artist:                        James McNeill Whistler
  • Year:                         1865
  • Medium:                   oil on canvas
  • Dimensions               w100.3 x h77.4 x d6.5 (work with frame)
  • Museum:                   University of Michigan Museum of Art

~~~

Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea

James McNeill Whistler - Variations in Pink and Grey- Chelsea

Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea by James Abbott McNeill Whistler depicts the affluent area of South West London bounded to the south by the River Thames. In the 19th century, the area became a Victorian artists’ colony. Chelsea once had a reputation as London’s bohemian quarter, the haunt of artists, radicals, painters, and poets.

Painters such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, J. M. W. Turner, James McNeill Whistler, William Holman Hunt, and John Singer Sargent all lived and worked here. There was an unusually large concentration of artists in the area around Cheyne Walk and Cheyne Row, where the Pre-Raphaelite movement had its heart.

Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea

  • Title:                         Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea
  • Artist:                        James McNeill Whistler
  • Year:                         1872
  • Medium:                  oil on canvas
  • Dimensions            Height: 62.7 cm (24.6″); Width: 40.5 cm (15.9″)
  • Museum:                  Freer Gallery of Art 

James McNeill Whistler

~~~

“You shouldn’t say it is not good. You should say, you do not like it, and then, you know, you’re perfectly safe.”
– James Abbott McNeill Whistler

~~~


Photo Credit: 1)  James Abbott McNeill Whistler [Public domain]

Popular this Week

Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites - Virtual Tours
Nebra Sky Disk - Oldest Map of the Night Sky
"Primavera" by Sandro Botticelli
Colossal Statues of Akhenaten
Ancient Artifacts - Virtual Tour
Musée d'Orsay - A Virtual Tour
Quotes about Museums, Art and History
Edvard Munch - Virtual Tour
Dancing Girl (Mohenjo-daro) from the Indus Valley Civilization

SEARCH