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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

James Abbot McNeill Whistler

Arrangement in Gray:
Portrait of the Painter

(Self-Portrait, 1872,
Detroit Institute of the Arts)
"As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight, and the subject-matter has nothing to do with the harmony of sound or color."

— James Abbot McNeill Whistler
American Artist
1834 - 1903

Some artists and writers believe that the story is less important than technique used to communicate the story.  The flow and interaction of color is more important than the subject being painted.  The subject, whether a person or a landscape, is secondary to the colors.  For some poets and writers the same is true.  The creative use of language is more important the story being told.  The quality of the writing is judged not by the story told but the uniqueness of the words used to tell the story.  What do you think?  Is technique more important than  meaning?  Is color more important than subject?  Are words more important than story?

Whistler is best known for his painting, Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (1871), commonly called Whistler's Mother.

Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1
(1971, Musee d'Orsay, Paris)

Here is another painting by Whistler: Symphony in White No. 1.

Symphony in White, No. 1:
The White Girl

(1862, The National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C.)