Artwork of the Week: May 16

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James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American, 1834–1903), Crepuscule in Opal, Trouville, oil on canvas, 1865. 13 3/4 x 18 1/8 in. Gallery 30B

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American, 1834–1903), Crepuscule in Opal, Trouville, oil on canvas, 1865. 13 3/4 x 18 1/8 in. Gallery 30B

Though born in Massachusetts, Whistler spent most of his career in Europe, first in Paris, then settling in London in 1859. Whistler painted this almost abstract view of the beach while on a trip to Trouville, France, with fellow painter Gustave Courbet. Whistler likely applied some of the paint to this canvas using a palette knife, a method he would soon abandon. The title relates both to the time of day depicted (twilight) and to the overall color harmony of the painting. Whistler, who advocated that art should stand on its own merits (“art for art’s sake”), often titled his paintings as if they were musical compositions to emphasize an analogy to musical harmonies.


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