21 March 2022
James McNeill Whistler, Symphony in White, No. 1 The White Girl, 1862
Washington, National Gallery of Art
Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hifferman
with Ann Dumas
A lecture on the exhibition at the Royal Academy, London (26 Feb. – 22 May) by exhibition curator, Ann Dumas.
Many of James McNeil Whistler’s works feature the red-haired figure of Joanna Hiffernan. Her close professional and personal relationship with the artist lasted for two decades, yet little about her role or influence in his life has been explored – until now.
Today considered one of the best-known names of the late 19th-century Aesthetic Movement, Whistler moved to London as a young painter hoping to forge his reputation. It was here that he met Joanna Hiffernan, an Irish model who would become his muse, confidante and more.
The current exhibition uncovers the role Joanna played in the artist’s career and discovers how Whistler’s revolutionary paintings featuring Hiffernan went on to influence other artists from the Pre-Raphaelites to Klimt.
James McNeill Whistler, Purple and Rose, The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks, 1864.
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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