JAMES ABBOTT McNEIL WHISTLER

Since no man is elected to the Hall of Fame while yet alive, the painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler could never express his reactions at being enshrined in a becolumned institution as one of a group of Americans that includes statesmen and inventors and captains of industry. However, we can be certain that, had he been able to do so, Whistler would have denounced the whole proceeding. For he made jokes about formal institutions, often denied that he was an American, and always insisted statesmen and inventors and captains of industry were completely unworthy to be in the same room with an artist.

The great French painter Degas once said to Whistler, "My friend, you behave as if you had no talent." He himself drew as his signature a butterfly with the sting of a wasp in its tail. This was an accurate symbol of the personality he showed to the world, but we would not be discussing him today were there not much more to him than that. He was among the most original and influential of all English-speaking artists.

However, Whistler never put down roots in any single place or nation. He was born in Massachusetts on July 10, 1834, son to a civil engineer who moved from task to task. While still in short trousers, the boy lived in three American communities, in England, and in Russia where his father was called by the czar to build a railroad. He was enjoying the luxuries of the world's most lavish imperial court when the father died and he was shifted to a frozen New England farmhouse to be kept by his mother perpetually engaged in chores. He was sent to West Point, but dismissed for failure in chemistry. "Had silicon been a gas," he was to explain, "I would have been a major general." He worked in a locomotive works and then in the Coastal Survey. All this before he was twenty-one!

At twenty-one, Whistler left America forever. He sailed to a physical France, but actually he struggled on sinewy butterfly wings toward the only region where he ever felt at home: the world of art. For the rest of his life, his mind tried to inhabit that visionary land while his feet walked more tangible bottoms: the alleys and damp studios of Paris's artistic

-185-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Random Harvest
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 346

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.