Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

January 30, 2014

Through Whistler's eyes and beyond

Addison Gallery opens winter exhibition season

The Addison Gallery of American Art is offering a glimpse of Whistler’s London to headline its series of winter exhibitions opening this weekend on the campus of Phillips Academy.

“An American in London: Whistler and the Thames” features works by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who was born in Lowell in 1824, but worked in London after settling there in 1859.

The international show opens Friday night with a reception, and will run through April 13.

“Although Whistler has been the subject of many exhibitions, ‘An American in London’ provides the first focused examination of this important period in his career,” Susan Faxon, interim director of the Addison, said.

“We are delighted that the Addison’s ‘Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge,’ which was one of the first paintings Whistler completed after moving to London, will be shown in the context of his other extraordinary work exploring life along the Thames in the Victorian era.”

“Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge” was one of the original 50 paintings purchased before Addison Gallery even opened its doors in 1931.

Faxon said the idea for the Whistler exhibit came about eight years ago from the museum’s desire to showcase that work.

During his time in London, Whistler focused on portraying the city and the river Thames in new ways. He was particularly interested in the bridges that spanned the Thames, the industrial neighborhoods along its banks and the workers that called those areas home.

“In the exhibit, Whistler really documents all the passages of that river as it goes through London,” Faxon said.

Addison reached out to Whistler experts and museums around the world in order to bring “An American in London” to life.“ The exhibit features more than 70 paintings, prints and drawings by Whistler, including works on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago, Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the British Museum in London. Historic photographs of London will also be on display to give context to the artist’s works.

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