Friday, August 28, 2015

Mother of a Painting --- Day 4/211

Walk: Union Square, Trader Joe's 
Distance: 3.5 miles

James McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black #1 (Whistler's Mother), 1871, o/c, 4' 9"x 5' 4"

Whistler's Mother is visiting Massachusetts' Clark Museum from the d'Orsay.  Ciwt should say she's back visiting because she was here in San Francisco a few years ago.  While she's here this arguably most famous work of art by an American artist is getting a lot of publicity including, for you New Yorker readers, an article in that publication this week. Piggy-backing, Ciwt says read it, and she's including in today's CIWT a picture of the full painting.  For some reason, the New Yorker article only pictures the top right quadrant even though it refers to the mother's legs, the curtain, the stool and other elements of the painting outside the quadrant pictured.  (Not showing the whole painting while writing about it seems strange to Ciwt ; maybe there is some copyright issue).

Whistler was a larger than life artist, sort of the (first)  Donald Trump of artists.  (As Oscar Wilde said of him: he spells Art beginning with I).  A writer could spin a bottle and come up with any number of interesting ways to talk about him.  Peter Schjeldahl looks at Whistler and the painting in terms of the meaning of motherhood in his article.  Ciwt chose to write a bit about his infamous Peacock Room controversy on Day 74 and his fascination with Japonisme on Day 2/350 if you care to look back.

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