A Life for Art's Sake
Yale University Press, 9780300232639, 510pp.
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
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This engaging personal history dispels the popular notion of James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) as merely a combative, eccentric, and unrelenting publicity seeker. The Whistler revealed in these beautifully illustrated 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.
“[Sutherland] seeks to get behind the public Whistler . . . never judging or condescending to his subject. . . . The portrait of Whistler that emerges is complex and mysterious . . . a measured and scholarly account of an extraordinary life.”—Ruth Scurr, Wall Street Journal
“The first comprehensive biography of Whistler in at least a generation. . . . Sutherland skillfully captures Whistler’s ambition, tenacity, and insecurity and presents his life in a narrative that does justice to both his triumphs and his failures.”—Eleanor Jones Harvey, American Scholar