In 1885 one of London’s most famous if not the most famous artist living was the American ex-patriot James McNeil Whistler (Whistler’s Mother – and shame on you if that is the only painting you know of his). He wrote and gave a lecture that brought the lecture houses down. These were times when people actually listened and paid good money to do so!
He was flamboyant and not one to suffer those that disagreed with him. (The famous trial against John Ruskin – then the most respected art critic and author of his generation. Who at this time was considered by some to be exhibiting dementia and rapidly lost his audience after he lost the libel suit to Whistler (who won a farthing (a penny) and went bankrupt for his art).
Whistler fought for his work and for art and true artistic expression his whole life and still through his will was a force to be reckoned with. Yet ( and this is important – history lost site of his accomplishments and place in the history of art….One reason to read about the life of a man whose thoughts on art are relevant today!