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Nocturne: Blue and Gold

Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Southampton Water by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Southampton Water by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Southampton Water by James Abbott McNeill Whistler was an early 1870s step for the artist toward abstraction with his Nocturnes series.

Whistler captures the stillness of evening while evoking the artistry of music in the tonal harmonies of twilight.

Whistler has depicted an inlet along the English Channel near Southampton obscured by the approaching night.

Vessels appear ghostly shapes, and shadowy forms by the twilight as the fragmented moon is seen on the horizon.

The work provides an example of Japonisme style, which significantly influenced Whistler and many other Impressionists during this period.

The flattened, silhouetted forms are typical of contemporaneous Ukiyo-e prints. The monochromatic color washes, visible brushstrokes, and subdued composition echo Sumi-e.

Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Southampton Water

  • Title:                       Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Southampton Water
  • Artist:                     James McNeill Whistler
  • Year:                       1872
  • Medium:                Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions           Height: 505 mm (19.88″); Width: 760 mm (29.92″)
  • Category:               American Artist
  • Museum:                Art Institute of Chicago

James McNeill

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.

An American in London: Whistler and the Thames

Whistler

Whistler and the Thames

A Virtual Tour of American Artists You Should Know

An American in London: Whistler and the Thames

~~~

“I am not arguing with you – I am telling you.”
– James Abbott McNeill Whistler

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

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