National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the National Gallery of Art; bequest of Albert E. Gallatin, 1952
An innovative painter, designer, and printmaker, James McNeill Whistler frequently identified his landscapes and portraits as "symphonies," "nocturnes," and "arrangements," demonstrating his interest in atmosphere, color, and line. Though often neglected in his native United States, Whistler was lionized by the avant-garde of Europe, and his most productive years were spent in London and Paris. The artist's wit and self-fashioning further heightened his celebrity.
Joseph Edgar Boehm sculpted this bust in 1872, the year in which Whistler exhibited his now-famous Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Artist's Mother at the Royal Academy in London.
Albert E. Gallatin [1881-1952]; bequeathed to the National Gallery of Art 1952; transferred to NPG 1965