Whistler: The Early Years

James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born in Lowell, MA in 1834, and died in London in 1903. Except for his youth, he lived nearly his entire life in continental Europe and England. During a time when training abroad was the norm for American artists, he took the idea of expatriate artist to the extreme. 

An endearing quality of Whistler's early etchings is their focus on family members, lovers and friends. More than one-third of his prints from this period—up to his departure for London in 1859—represent those close to him. While drawing from what was readily available for subject matter, he depicted those personalities with a softness and familiarity that was unique at this early state in the late 19th century etching revival. This close connection with his subjects, who comprise the first several lots in the Whistler and His Influence auction on October 27th, is one of the repeat characteristics of Whistler's career that aided his rise from obscurity to success. 
James A. M. Whistler, Annie, Seated, etching, 1858. Estimate: $1,500 to $2,500.

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