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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Whistler Retrospective at Yokohama Museum of Art

ホイッスラー展

Yokohama Museum of Art is hosting a Whistler Retrospective. It began on December 6 last year and ends on March 1 this year.

Whistler Retrospective at the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama.
Whistler Retrospective at the Yokohama Museum of Art

James McNeill Whistler was a nineteenth century American artist who lived in Europe all his life from age 21, and was active mostly in England and France.

From the mid-nineteenth century there was a wave of admiration for Japanese art in England, leading to what is known as the Anglo-Japanese style of art, and was associated with the art-for-art's-sake, or Aesthetic, movement that was replacing the idea of art having to serve a moral purpose.

Ticket for the Whistler Retrospective exhibition, Yokohama, Japan.
Ticket for the Whistler Retrospective exhibition

Whistler came to Europe in the 1850s when the movement was just beginning, and its influence on him is evident in his work. The most explicit expression of it was in his Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, a mural work he painted in 1876-77 and with extensive use of gold leaf.

Whistler's drew on Rembrandt, Velázquez, and ancient Greek sculpture, too, for his inspiration, yet unsurprisingly it is the Japanese influence that, more than anything else, fuels interest in Whistler in Japan. The Whistler exhibition at Yokohama Museum of Art was thronged yesterday (a public holiday).

Whistler produced a lot more than just paintings. The exhibition included hundreds of his sketches and lithographs--delicate, detailed, often whimsical creations that generated at least as much interest from visitors as the paintings.

Yokohama Museum of Art shop, selling Whistler merchandise, Yokohama, Japan.
Yokohama Museum of Art shop, selling Whistler merchandise.

 The Whistler Retrospective at the Yokohama Museum of Art costs 1,500 yen for adults, which includes admission to the permanent collection.

See what's on now in the greater Tokyo area and Kyoto.

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