Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake by Daniel E. Sutherland REVIEW

Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake

The first biography in more than twenty years of James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) is also the first to make extensive use of the artist’s private correspondence to tell the story of his life and work. This engaging personal history dispels the popular notion of Whistler as merely a combative, eccentric, and unrelenting publicity seeker, a man as renowned for his public feuds with Oscar Wilde and John Ruskin as for the iconic portrait of his mother. The Whistler revealed in these pages is an intense, introspective, and complex man, plagued by self-doubt and haunted by an endless pursuit of perfection in his painting and drawing.

In his beautifully illustrated and deeply human portrayal of the artist, Daniel E. Sutherland shows why Whistler was perhaps the most influential artist of his generation, and certainly a pivotal figure in the cultural history of the nineteenth century. Whistler comes alive through his own magnificent work and words, including the provocative manifestos that explained his bold artistic vision, sparked controversy in his own time, and resonate to this day.

 I love reading biographies and true stories. This biography is no exception. Especially reading about the life of James McNeill Whistler; a great American painter. I do wish there were more personal aspects to the biography. Such as the letter correspondences between Whistler and his family, friends, and peers and other personal touches such as stories and anecdotes. Although, the reader will be able to see that research was done well to do this biography and the author wrote it well and captures the reader from the beginning. I did find a few parts of the biography as dry or lacking in interest, but all in all, I did enjoy reading this biography and would recommend it.

                                                                               I received this book for review from Library Journal

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