Yesterday I took advantage of Senior’s Card discount day and went to the Whistler’s Mother Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.
I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Whistler’s art, not necessarily his most famous work which was the focus of this exhibition, but his wonderful minimalist water colours, like the one below scanned from American Watercolours, a large art book in my personal library.
The exhibition is fairly small, though educational, with the painting of Whistler’s Mother being the feature work. Several other works of art are displayed as well, Australian artists who were influenced by the painting, and several Japanese art works. Japanese art was a major influence on the art world of the mid to late 19th Century, and Whistler’s Mother is a prime example of how aspects of Japanese art are incorporated in the paintings of the period.
Several sets of Whistler’s etchings were also on display – his English,French and Venice sets in particular.
When you first walk into the exhibition there were three striking caricatures of Whistler. He was apparently a flamboyant and colourful character and a proponent of the Aesthetic Movement, who believed in the idea of art for art’s sake..
You pass through several rooms before you finally arrive at the famous portrait, spotlit in a room by itself.
After leaving the Whistler exhibition I cruised through several rooms of art, trying to find an exit. Thus I ambled through European Art, Porcelain and Decorative Arts before finding the down escalator.
I photographed the claw foot of an elaborate table in the European Art section, as I have a fondness for claw footed furniture and this was a particularly attractive foot.
And I was amused by of the following cartoon for Mental Energy by James Gillray. The character looks the opposite of mentally energised!
All in all, it was a pleasant exhibition well worth attending.