Whistler said of his mother’s visit: “All of a sudden in the middle of the affair my mother [Anna] arrived from the United States! General upheaval!….I had to empty my house and purify it from cellar to attic...”* Looking at the picture, perhaps we can understand the artist’s anxiety about this model of rectitude. Incidentally, she made Whistler promise to never paint on a Sunday.
The wonderful Musée d’Orsay has lent Whistler’s famous Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 to the National Gallery of Victoria, as it is staging an exhibition of Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) and despite its vast stock of impressionist and post-impressionist work, did not have this fine work of his, Siesta, which NGV had cannily snapped up. TVC regrets to announce that la belle Francais did us in this deal.
[*Gordon Fleming, The Young Whistler (1978), p. 194.]