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James McNeill Whistler - Selected Works
James McNeill Whistler, Little Lizzie Willis, about 1896-99, Oil on canvas, 51.4 x 31.4 in. The Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow.

CINCINNATI, OH.-The Taft Museum of Art presents James McNeill Whistler - Selected Works from the Hunterian Art Gallery, through May 22. The Taft Museum of Art is the only midwest venue for a U.S. tour of works by the artist from the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland.

The exhibition features 12 oil paintings and 57 works on paper. Whistler's most well-known subject matter will be on view, including a few elegant portraits and some striking landscapes and urban views of France and England. The works on paper consist of a wide range of media: drawings, watercolors, etchings, lithographs, and designs for interior decoration.

The exhibition also unveils the private side of Whistler by presenting a selection of female nude studies that are much less familiar to the public.

"Of particular interest is the large group of etchings, a medium for which Whistler is renowned," said Lynne Ambrosini, chief curator at the Taft Museum of Art. "These are masterpieces, examples that Whistler kept for himself, and key objects in the etching revival of the mid-19th century in England and France."

As the repository of items from Whistler's estate, the Hunterian Art Gallery owns one of the world's top three collections of Whistler's art.

The exhibition complements Whistler's art with a selection of objects from the artist's personal collection. On display are silverware, porcelain, letters, manuscripts, and books that enhance our understanding of this complex and innovative artist.

The exhibition also provides a rich context for the Taft's early painting by Whistler, At the Piano. Completed in 1858-59, the painting was Whistler's first major oil and earned him acceptance into the British Royal Academy in 1860.

About James McNeill Whistler - Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1834 and moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, with his parents when he was nine years old. After returning to the United States for several years to attend West Point, he left for England at age 21, determined to make a career as an artist. He eventually became one of the leading members of the Aesthetic movement. This movement's "art for art's sake" philosophy can be seen in many of Whistler's paintings that emphasize color and mood rather than representational subject matter. As an expatriate American artist, Whistler acted as an important link among the avant-garde artistic worlds of Europe, Britain, and the United States.

Whistler died in London in 1903. His sister-in-law inherited his estate and the contents of his studio, which she left to the University of Glasgow's art museum, which later became the Hunterian Art Gallery.

James McNeill Whistler is an exhibition from the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow. International Arts & Artists, Inc., Washington, D.C, organized the tour.

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