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An American in London: Whistler and the Thames anchors winter season at Addison Gallery
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge, 1859–63, oil on canvas, 25 1/8 x 29 15/16 in., Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, gift of Cornelius N. Bliss, 1928.55.
ANDOVER, MASS.- The Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., opens its winter exhibition season February 1 with a trio of new shows. An American in London: Whistler and the Thames, which runs through April 13, headlines the winter season, accompanied by two permanent collection exhibitions, Industrial Strength: Selections from the Collection and Eye on the Collection: Artful Poses.

An American in London is the first major exhibition to focus on Whistler’s time in London, during which the artist explored a radical new aesthetic approach to the subject of the city and the river, challenging the art establishment of the time. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1834, James Abbott McNeill Whistler trained in art both in the United States and throughout Europe. After settling in London in 1859, Whistler immersed himself in the life of the city, with a particular focus on the bridges that crossed the Thames as it flowed through the center of London. Taken with the bustling industrial neighborhoods, he depicted the workers and women who frequented the riverside wharves and pubs, the barges that navigated the perilous passage under the bridges, and the steamboats and wherries crowded with daytrippers that paddled up and down Battersea Reach. An American in London brings together more than 70 paintings, prints, and drawings from this pivotal period in Whistler’s career, providing a detailed examination of his approach to composition, subject, and technique. Throughout the exhibition, historical photographs and portraits of Whistler and his patrons complement Whistler’s work, bringing to life the neighborhood and people of his world and adding depth to the stories he depicted during this time.

Susan Faxon, Interim Director of the Addison, notes, “Although Whistler has been the subject of many exhibitions, An American in London provides the first focused examination of this important period in his career. We are delighted that the Addison’s Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge, which was one of the first paintings Whistler completed after moving to London, will be shown in the context of his other extraordinary work exploring life along the Thames in the Victorian era.”

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