An in Depth Study of James Mcneill Whistler's Nocturne Series

1244 Words5 Pages
American born and British-based artist James Whistler (1834-1903) played a crucial role in the development of 20th century modernism and is regarded as one of the leading figures of the Aesthetic Movement in Britain. He is noted for his full-length stylistic self-portraits, etching and - my favourite - paintings of nocturnal London. This essay will explore the work of James McNeill Whistler, which can be divided into four periods: research, abstraction, portraiture and landscape.

Whistler was influenced by the Realism of Gustave Courbet and Japanese art. Due to being well-received in Holland, Japanese art was beginning to become popular in England and France. Whistler abandoned Realism and re-interpreted Japanese art, creating his own aesthetic theory. Rather than aiming for realistic qualities, his paintings aimed at colour harmony - artists Rossetti and Whistler loved the blue and white Chinese and Japanese porcelain. Throughout this period, Whistler created the paintings 'Lange Lijzen', 'The Gold Screen', 'The Balcony' and 'La princesse du Pays de Porcelaine' using simple subjects and typical Japanese-based colours. The painting 'La Princesse du Pays de Porcelaine' is a portrait of Christine Spartali, daughter of the Greek consul in France, whom he had met at his friend's, Ionides, house. It was exhibited in Rossetti's studio where a collector became interested under the basis of Whistler changing his signature - he refused, however, ironically, changed his signature to a butterfly subsequently. The butterfly featured on the frames of his early paintings, alongside blue or red designs on a gold background to harmonise with the dominant colours within the painting itself.

In 1875, Whistler moved on to an almost abstract style with his strong use of light and shade - although he was more concerned with evoking a mood that depicting the effects of light- ,

More about An in Depth Study of James Mcneill Whistler's Nocturne Series

Open Document