Renowned for his witty banter, the work of American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler led many critics to believe him to be the forerunner of abstract art. A talented engraver who produced numerous etchings, lithographs and dry-points, Whistler is best known for his financially ruinous libel suit with the critic John Rushkin.
The painting that was at the heart of the case, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, was one of his near-abstract nighttime images of the River Thames. It is these nocturnal scenes, along with his highly stylized portraits that secure his reputation today. Whistler's radical emphasis on composition at the expense of subject matter was typified when he painted his famous portrait of his mother and called it Arrangement in Grey and Black.
Titles in the series include:
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