Friends and Enemies: Whistler and His Artistic, Literary and Social Circles

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Delve into the works of artist J.M. Whistler and the many controversies he courted with Friends and Enemies: Whistler and His Artistic, Literary and Social Circles.


James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), the expatriate American artist, had a forceful personality that was at odds with the delicacy of his art. He was known for his consummate skill as a painter and printmaker, for his radical art theories, for his wit, and for his combative persona that often devolved friendships into feuds. Inspiring many and reviled by some, Whistler courted controversy throughout his life.


This exhibition explores Whistler’s high-profile place in the art world, and in the literary and social worlds of Paris and London, while tracing famous controversies with prominent figures like Oscar Wilde and art historian John Ruskin. Whistler’s etchings, lithographs, prints and writings are juxtaposed here with works on paper, photographs, books, periodicals, and ephemera by his associates and the followers who helped ensure his long-lasting legacy.


The exhibition is on view September 7 – December 10 in Old College Gallery. Old College Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is also available online.


Admission is free. Please observe the University’s current COVID-19 health and safety protocols when visiting.

Friday, December 10, 2021 at 10:00am to 4:00pm

Old College Gallery, University of Delaware

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Students, Faculty & Staff, Community



Library, Museums and Press




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Vicky White

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