With a style as cosmopolitan and eccentric as his own personality, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, an American in London, set the Victorian art world reeling with pre-modernist studies and impressionist nocturnes. Compiled by Scottish art historian Spencer, this valuable collage of writings about (and by) Whistler--letters, memoirs, reviews, diary extracts, essays--reveals that this feverishly productive expatriate has been periodically written off as an aesthetestyle change! hooray!/I like it too.gs or a decorator. Yet this gloriously illustrated album, with 237 plates (half in color), profiles a genius of constant invention who switched fluidly between etching, painting, watercolor and lithography, and whose best works are ``modern'' in their daring originality and lyricism. (Nov.)
With this anthology of excerpts from letters, diaries, critical reviews, and other published writings of the time, leading Whistler scholar Spencer here does a great service to anyone interested in the painter and in the artistic and literary worlds of the late 19th century. His book is a vivid portrait of a perennially fascinating figure known as much for his acerbic tongue and libel case against Ruskin as for his atmospheric paintings. Period photographs help visually to set the scene, and thorough annotations accompanying each selection illuminate textual references to people, works of art, and events. Lush color plates, several of which fold out, are remarkably true to the originals. An excellent purchase for most libraries.-- Lynell A. Morr, John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Lib., Sarasota, Fla.