JAMES ABBOTT McNEILL WHISTLER 1834-1903 American
JOHN SINGER SABGENT 1856- American
THESE pictures, like their respective authors, present a strange contrast. The Sargent, so brilliantly assertive, is the work of a reticent personality; while the Whistler, so tenderly reticent, is the creation of an artist who was brilliant and assertive.
There is an antithesis in these two cases between the man and his work that is by no means uncommon in the history of art. Without attempting an explanation of this, we may note, as helping toward it, that an artist puts into his work what there is of best and strongest in himself; also that some artists, holding their art very sacred, erect around it a barricade, and adopt a personal manner that, as it were, shall throw the world off the scent; somewhat as the plover wheels around in the air with noisy cry, in order to distract attention from her nest, which is tucked away remote from disturbance in a different direction.
The work of both these men has an original force, that has influenced countless other painters, and yet its inspiration was borrowed. Both owe much to the lesson of Velasquez; Sargent also to that of Franz Hals and