Thank you to Joy of Museums for this discussion of some of Whistler’s landscapes.
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) was an American artist active during the American Gilded Age and based primarily in the United Kingdom. He was averse to sentimentality and moral allusion in painting, and was a leading proponent of the credo “art for art’s sake.”
He found a parallel between painting and music and entitled many of his paintings “arrangements,” “harmonies,” and “nocturnes,” emphasizing the primacy of tonal harmony. Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time with his artistic theories and his friendships with leading artists and writers.
A Tour of James Abbott McNeill Whistler – Landscapes
- Southend Pier – Freer Gallery of Art
- Green and Silver: Beaulieu, Touraine – Freer Gallery of Art
- Sea and Rain – University of Michigan Museum of Art
- Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea – Freer Gallery of Art
Southend Pier by James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Southend Pier by James Abbott McNeill Whistler depicts groups of people walking at the water’s edge. Southend Pier, a major landmark in Southend-on-Sea, in southeastern Essex, England, is in the background.
In the early 19th century, Southend was growing as a seaside holiday resort. The coast at Southend consists of extensive mudflats, so the sea is never deep even at full tide. The pier was built to allow boats to reach Southend at all tides. By 1848 it was the longest pier in Europe at 7,000 feet (2,100 m). By the 1850s, the railway had reached Southend with it a significant influx of visitors from London. After this painting was made, it was decided to replace the pier with a new iron pier.