A Fragile Modernism: Whistler and His Impressionist Followers

Overview

Whistler embarked on a new project in the 1880s, working on a small scale in oil, pastel and watercolor to depict new London subjects and painting portraits of new urban types. This book, the first critical study of Whistler and his Impressionist followers, offers an in-depth analysis of Whistler's art as well as new insights into his modernist project.

Using a wealth of primary material, Robins tracks the history of Whistler and his group and shows through testimony and ...

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Overview

Whistler embarked on a new project in the 1880s, working on a small scale in oil, pastel and watercolor to depict new London subjects and painting portraits of new urban types. This book, the first critical study of Whistler and his Impressionist followers, offers an in-depth analysis of Whistler's art as well as new insights into his modernist project.

Using a wealth of primary material, Robins tracks the history of Whistler and his group and shows through testimony and practice that they were formulating an identity as avant-garde artists. This is the first critical study of these Impressionist artists and throws new light on this neglected aspect of British art.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Massachusetts-born, British-based artist James McNeill Whistler is famous for his full-length portrait (of his mother), Arrangement in Grey and Black. However, Whistler, the man who painted the icon of American motherhood, left America at 21 and didn't return. Instead, he lived as an expatriate in London and Paris, where in the 1880s he formed a group of forward-thinking followers who in time would imitate his style and help spread the good word of Whistler. It's this part of Whistler's history that Robins focuses on in this book. A serious historian of late 19th- and early 20th-century British and French art, Robins has published prolifically, particularly on the subject of British and French impressionists and postimpressionists. Her book is more than a prettily illustrated catalog with a snappy title. It is a serious study of Whistler, his lesser-known 1880s works, and his disciples and their work. Complete with scores of color and black-and-white illustrations, extensive notes, a considerable bibliography, and an index, the book is recommended for academic institutions with history of art collections.
—Jennifer Pollock

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300135459
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Anna Robins is a reader in the history of art at the University of Reading.

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