James Abbott McNeill Whistler(1834-1903), Painter and etcher
Sitter in 15 portraits
Artist associated with 4 portraits
Born in America, Whistler originally trained to be a soldier at West Point, before studying painting in Paris and moving to London around 1860, where he remained. An advocate of the aesthetic ideal of 'Art for Art's Sake', and all-round provocative figure of the London art world, his nocturnes (which he described as ‘arrangement[s] of line, form and colour first’ and were famously criticised by John Ruskin for representing the equivalent of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face') and decorative subjects made him a progressive and controversial figure.
More on James Whistler: Oscar Wilde and his circle book in our Shops
by Sir Leslie Ward
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 12 January 1878
- Anna McNeill Whistler (mother)
Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.
Subjects and themes
Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!
Black History Month
Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.
A Picture of Health
Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.