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Studio: international art — 29.1903

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James McATeill Whistler

of his performances—a lesson which every painter "i "V EMINISCENCES OF WHIST-
who aspires to greatness would do well to master. I J LER. BYTvIORTIMER MENPES

1 V

He has proved beyond all question what vast j \ RECORDED BY DOROTHY
possibilities there are in common things. The MENPES.
beauty of everyday life was one of his strongest

convictions, and his faculty for finding suitable How fascinating those were, the days when I
material for great pictures in any direction never lived with Whistler in the intimacy of his studio !
failed him. He never had to wander far from And it was at the very best period of his life that I
home in search of subjects; he took what came knew him—a period which is known as the "Maud'
and illuminated it by the light of his genius period. Yet at that time there was a good deal of
until the merest commonplaces were full of fighting to be done. His position then was not
exquisite artistic suggestions. It was his rare what it is now. Now Whistler's pictures are recog-
decorative instinct that saved him from ever nised by everyone to be masterpieces, and Whistler
missing his mark, and led him always aright himself a great master; but I can remember the
in his management of the resources of his time when scarcely a single critic of a single
craft. If the artists who seek to rival him will London paper failed to rail and jeer at him and
estimate justly the significance of this factor his work. And some of the men about him—men
in his greatness he will assuredly not have who had been hypnotised by his overpowering
laboured in vain. personality, myself among the number—clubbed

together and formed a
little army, whose sole aim ,
of existence was to fight
Whistler's battles, and to
place him, where he should
be placed, far above the
unbelieving Philistines and
on a par with such men
as Velasquez and Rem-
brandt. We called our-
selves the " Whistler
Followers." We were in-
tensely in earnest; that ,
was the best and the
saddest thing about us.
We were boiling over with
enthusiasm. We thought of
nothing else but Whistler.
We talked of nothing else
but Whistler. We lived for
nothing else but Whistler.
We had no time to do any
actual work, our time was
taken up in fighting for, the
master. In silence and
in secret, and from a
respectful distance the
followers worshipped him.
We felt that the master
was in possession of tre-
mendous secrets about art,
but we never got within
a certain crust of reserve
and mystery in which he


(By permission of Mrs. L. Knowles) kept his real artistic self

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