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Whistler and Nature

Sat 20 October - Sun 16 December

In this exhibition we will share new research into the influence of engineering, topography and Japanese woodblocks on one of the greatest artists of the nineteenth century, through his depictions of natural and industrial landscapes.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) was an American artist who lived most of his life in the UK. He was known for his innovative artistic style and bold personality, with a reputation for verbal and legal retaliations against art critics, dealers, and artists who insulted his work.

Through this intriguing collection of paintings, sketches and prints, we will examine how his appreciation of Japanese art impacted his style and approach to composition, as well as the influence of his military training and employment in the US Navy on his skill for observational drawing and cartography. Whistler’s smoky images of warehouse, harbours and industrial scenes were designed to showcase a new kind of productive, wealth-generating landscape; a view of nature constrained by man-made structures.

The exhibition has been developed in partnership with The Hunterian, Glasgow University.


The Bathing Posts, Brittany, 1893 James McNeill Whistler © Hunterian Art Gallery