James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s most famous painting is also one of the most parodied in the history of art; probably only the Mona Lisa rivals it as a pop culture icon. Though it’s popularly called Whistler’s Mother, the painting’s title is really Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1.
Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, which is also the hometown of Jack Kerouac—quite an interesting legacy for a small industrial town. His own legacy is much more varied than many people know who are familiar only with the portrait of his mother. Working in Paris, he became friendly with several of the Impressionists, as well as with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of the pre-Raphaelite painters; Whistler’s work incorporates some of the style of each movement as well as many other influences, but it is also uniquely his own, distinguished by his use of monochrome tones. He often titled his paintings “nocturnes” or “harmonies”.
|Symphony in White: The White Girl|
|Grand Canal Amsterdam|