THE AIM OF THE SOCIETY IS TO PROMOTE INTEREST IN THE LIFE, WORK AND INFLUENCE OF JAMES McNEILL WHISTLER (1834 -1903)
J. M. Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. Part of his childhood was spent in St. Petersburg, Russia. He studied painting in Paris and then moved to London in 1859. He embraced the philosophy of ‘art for art’s sake’ exemplified by his paintings, etchings, decorative schemes and writings. He had a significant influence on present day attitudes to art and to its place in Society. As a person he was equally striking and flamboyant. He died in Chelsea in 1903.
The Whistler Society was formed in 2012. It plans to organise events such as talks and visits to exhibitions and places associated with Whistler. It is also hoped to publish a regular Newsletter. Meetings are generally held at the Chelsea Arts Club, of which Whistler was a founder member in 1891.
Membership is open to all who share the aims of the Society, including people living outside the United Kingdom.
Some Sayings of James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Responding to an admirer who stated that there were only two great painters – Velasquez and himself.
“Why drag in Velasquez.”
When asked during the Ruskin libel case about the price for ‘The Falling Rocket’ “And that was the labour (about a day’s work) for which you charged two hundred guineas?”
“No; it was for the knowledge gained through a lifetime.”
Regarding an unflattering but not inaccurate portrait of himself by J. Boldini.
“Well, they tell me it is very like me, but, thank God, I am not like it.”
On being asked why he did not visit America.
“It has been suggested many times; but, you see, I find art so absolutely irritating to the people that, really, I hesitate before exasperating another nation.”
Telegram delivered to Oscar Wilde at the Church on the day of his wedding.
“Am detained. Don’t wait.”