James Abbott McNeillWhistler, American-born in 1834, became a major artist in the movements towards realism and pre-Raphaelism. At West Point he excelled in drawing but soon became a dropout in 1854 at the age of twenty--by explusion, not choice--for "deficiency in chemistry" ("WebMuseum 1). (This really hits home for a lot of us artists.) It was then that he moved to Europe, where he would remain for the remainder of his life, juggling homes in Paris and London searching for artistic acclaim. He became famous for oddly contrasting styles in drawing and painting--rough, sketchy drawings and soft, realistic paintings. His versatility was further embodied in his love of Oriental art, which he often tried to imitate.
Personally, I chose to research Whistler because of his classic messiness/boldness in drawings and realism in paintings. My styles match this exactly. Also, his use of hatching astounds me, which can be seen in the examples of his work attached here. He so freely and loosely creates figures that all at once look so real. I love the idea of turning the semi-abstract into utter reality--I believe it is the artist's duty to do so, actually.
Also, Whistler's personality immediately drew me into him as an artist and person in general. He was known for his quick quips, witty personality, and sheer confidence. Because of this, he often did not seem to others as the quintessential painter. This can be seen when a colleague of his asked, " 'But my dear Whistler…you leave your work so rough and sketchy. Why do you never finish?' Whistler…gave a fiendish laugh. 'My dear Leighton,' said he 'why do you ever begin?' " (Chubb 86).
Chubb, Edwin Watts. Sketches of Great Painters. Freeport, NY: for Libraries, 1968. Print.
Lochnan, Katharine Jordan., and James McNeill Whistler. The Etchings of James McNeill Whistler. New Haven: Published in Association with the Art Gallery of Ontario by Yale UP, 1984. Print.
"WebMuseum: Whistler, James Abbott McNeill." Ibiblio - The Public's Library and Digital Archive. WebMuseum, Paris, 4 Oct. 2002. Web. 29 Sept. 2011.