'Whistler and Nature' opens at Compton Verney

Works from The Hunterian collection are now on display as part of a new exhibition at Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park in Warwickshire.

Whistler and Nature casts new light on the work of the American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). The Hunterian is home to one of the world's most famous Whistler collections and has developed the exhibition in partnership with Compton Verney.

Whistler and Nature explores the artist's revolutionary attitude towards the natural world and features around 90 etchings, lithographs, oil paintings and works on paper. Over 70 are on loan from The Hunterian including Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses (c. 1854), The Bathing Posts, Brittany (c.1893), Thames Warehouses (1859), Billingsgate (1859), and Nocturne (c.1875-1877).

Whistler’s close observation of nature and its moods underpinned his powerful and haunting visions of 19th-century life. Finding a parallel between painting and music, Whistler entitled many of his paintings ‘nocturnes’, emphasising the primacy of tonal harmony. His images explore the contrasts between the natural and man-made worlds: rivers and wharves, gardens and courtyards, the ideal and the naturalistic, which are explored in the exhibition

Compton Verney’s Chief Executive, Professor Steven Parissien, said:

“Iconic portraits such as ‘Whistler’s Mother’ are world renowned, but less well known is the influence of nature on Whistler’s work. This exhibition was borne out of Dr Patricia de Montfort’s (Lecturer in History of Art/Curator of Whistler Studies at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow) innovative research into Whistler’s work from a particularly American standpoint and in the context of the US military. “

Beginning at Compton Verney, Whistler and Nature will then tour to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and Newcastle upon Tyne’s Laing Art Gallery, before returning to The Hunterian in the spring of 2020.

Whistler and Nature
20 October - 16 December 2018
Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park

Find out more on the Compton Verney website.

First published: 20 October 2018

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