James Abbott McNeill Whistler: Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 (1871)

(Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France)

A painting by the American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). This piece shows a portrait of Anna McNeill Whistler (1804-1881), mother of the artist. According to some stories regarding this painting, a professional model failed to show up and Whistler asked his mother to be the model. Anna Whistler had fled during the American civil war and had just returned to America and moved in with her son. Anna was a modest, pious and puritan woman who at first was shocked by the flamboyant lifestyle of her son but tolerated it. This painting is an homage by Whistler to his mother. The painting itself was later used on several occasions as a symbol for motherhood and family values. Painting from 1871.