James Abbott McNeill Whistler was a seminal American artist known for his paintings and etchings. Born on July 10, 1834 in Lowell, MA, he and his family moved to St. Petersburg, Russia in 1842 for his father’s job as a railway engineer. Whistler studied at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts at only 11 years old, returning to the United States with his mother after his father’s death in 1849. He briefly attended the United State Military Academy at West Point before being dismissed for disobedience and poor grades. Arriving in Paris in 1855, with little money and few prospects, he fell into the milieu of Courbet and Baudelaire. Over the following decades his work become increasingly sought after, living between London and Paris, Whistler produced several depictions of the River Thames and fell under the influence of Japanese woodcuts. He died on July 17, 1903 in London, United Kingdom. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Tate Gallery in London, among others.
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