The works of James McNeill Whistler leave New York for the first time in nearly a century, and are exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay.

Oscar Wilde’s friend

Do you know James Abbott McNeill Whistler, painter and friend of Oscar Wilde, founder of tonalism and member of the Legion of Honor ? If this is not the case, the Musée d’Orsay offers you a golden opportunity to come and discover this artist during an exceptional exhibition. The Frick Collection, opened to the public in 1935 in the New York “mansion” of industrial magnate and great collector Henry Clay Frick, is one of the most important museums of European art in the United States. Thanks to the closure of the institution for renovations, an important group of works by the American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) left New York for the first time in more than a century to be presented at the museum of ‘Orsay.

The works of James McNeill Whistler leave New York for the first time in nearly a century, and are exhibited at the Musée d'Orsay.

The new symbolist generation

This exceptional presentation brings together 22 works including 4 paintings, 3 pastels and 12 etchings from the Frick Collection as well as 3 paintings from the collections of the Musée d’Orsay. Along with the United States and the United Kingdom, France is one of the painter’s three homelands. Born in 1834 in Massachusetts, Whistler made his apprenticeship and his debut in Paris between 1855 and 1859. After settling in London, the artist kept a privileged link with the Parisian art scene, exhibiting alongside the refused in 1863 and becoming part of the 1890s one of the « beacons » of the new symbolist generation.

james mcneill whistler

Frick’s best represented artist

In 1891, the French State purchased his masterpiece : Arrangement in Gray and Black: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother. On the same date, Henry Clay Frick built up his collection, and in the early 1910s opened it up to late 19th century art. He bought eighteen works by Whistler – paintings and graphic arts – thus making this artist one of the best represented in his collection. Today, Whistler’s large full-length portraits are among the most admired works by visitors alongside the remarkable paintings by Holbein, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Gainsborough in the collection.

Musée d’Orsay,

1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris

https://www.musee-orsay.fr/fr/expositions/james-mcneill-whistler-1834-1903-chefs-doeuvre-de-la-frick-collection-new-york-200934

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