Part Three

Whistler was unusual among artists of his time in that he answered back to critics and took pains to establish his own discourse on his own art.  His unique way of painting, without the meticulous detail of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, seemed immoral and insulting to the art critic John Ruskin who made accusatory statements about Whistler. Fiercely independent and willing to lose a patron for the sake of his artistic vision, the artist sued when the aging British critic. Although the jury agreed with Whistler on the point of artistic freedom, it gave him only a farthing as a payment. But the publicity shone light on the quarrel over the rights of the avant-garde artists and what the public wanted to enjoy.  The resulting trial established a new definition for Modernist art, with Whistler following up with his now-famous “Ten O’Clock Lecture.”

Also listen to “Whistler, Part One” and “Whistler Part Two”

If you have found this material useful, please give credit to Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette and Art History Unstuffed.
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