Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket by James McNeill Whistler (1875)

Most people think of Whistler as the painter of that old lady in the rocking chair, not even realizing how avant-garde that portrait is. This, however, is where I really love Whistler’s work.

Whistler is the heir to Turner, the predecessor and colleague of the Impressionists, and a huge influence on John Singer Sargent, among other American artists. 

This particular painting was dismissed or ridiculed by critic John Ruskin, and Whistler went on to sue Ruskin. He won the suit, but was awarded only one farthing by the court.


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