An American in London: Whistler and the Thames

Dulwich Picture Gallery

16 Oct 2013 – 12 Jan 2014

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Rarely seen prints, drawings, watercolour paintings and pastels by the artist, which document his impressions of the city.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler held numerous artist residencies in London between 1859 and 1903, during which time he experimented with various forms of media to document his explorations of the city.

The exhibition brings together 70 works that capture his time in London, the variety of technique revealing this to be a transitional period in Whistler's creative development.

Referred to by some as a 'dandy', the artist was known as a man about town who enjoyed a colourful life in London.

His work however, didn't always meet with warm reception and in 1877 John Ruskin controversially accused Whistler of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face'.

The artist was so angered by the comments he successfully sued the critic, winning pitiful damages but 'a moral victory'.

Included in the display are Whistler's depictions of Battersea, Vauxhall, Wapping and Rotherhithe, which are complemented by historical photographs that provide further insight into the Chelsea neighbourhood where he lived and practised.

Whistler loved London and spent his later years living the city before his death in 1903. His grave still stands at St Nicholas' Church in Chiswick.

After its run in Dulwich, the display will go on tour to the US where it will be shown at galleries in Massachusetts and Washington in 2014.

Don't miss

As well as his dramatic cityscapes, the exhibition includes portraits of Whistler and his patrons, bringing to life the key personalities that featured in this period of the artist's career.

Notable works include The Artist's Studio and Symphony in White No. 2: The Little White Girl, as well as a lesser-known etching self-portrait, Whistler with a Hat, and a painting that includes his mistress 'Jo'.

Venue information

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)