Many people do not know that the American artist James Abbot McNeill Whistler spent part of his early life in Russia. His father played a role in the design of the St. Petersburg-Moscow railroad, so at the age of 9, Whistler was sent to study at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts.
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State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia December 7, 2006 - February 15, 2007
You can see the influence that the early Russian training had on him at the “Whistler in Russia” exhibition that is showing at the State Tretyakov Gallery. The Gallery is showing his works along those of his Russian contemporaries, thus illustrating the Russian influence on his art. Whistler himself considered the country to be the birthplace of his talent and even claimed Russia as his birthplace during the Ruskin libel trial.
The exhibition features paintings, sketches and etchings from different periods in Whistler’s life and presents Whistler's paintings alongside the works of K. Bryullov and Russian painters of the 1840s as well as I. Repin, V. Polenov, and K. Korovin. It reveals the striking and fruitful interaction between the artist and theoretician Whistler, who became the leader of the international aestheticist movement in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the artists of the "World of Art" – A. Benois, I. Grabar, B. Kustodiev, and A. Ostroumova-Lebedeva. A part of the project is entirely devoted to a comparison between the famous "Peacock Room," decorated by Whistler, and the project "Modern Art" launched by the arts patron Prince S. Shcherbatov. The exhibition introduces viewers to a new theme in the history of Russian-European and Russian-American artistic ties, in which both sides played an important role. Participants in the "Whistler and Russia" international project include not only Russian museums but also leading foreign museums such as the Tate Gallery, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), the Metropolitan Museum, the New York Public Library, the Carnegie Institute (Pittsburgh) and the National Gallery (Washington). Visitors to the exhibition will also get to see the Portrait of Mrs. Louis Huth from the private collection (Great Britain).