In the fall of 2015, the Colby College Museum of Art will publish Whistler and the World: The Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler, in conjunction with a major exhibition of the same title. Six Colby students contributed essays to that catalog: Maria Bowe ’15, Catherine Maguire ’15, Caroline Pelham ’17, Francesca Soriano ’16, Veronica Vesnaver ’15, and Marina Wells ’15. The students wrote on the following important artworks by Whistler in the Lunder Collection: La Mere Gerard; The Music Room; A Japanese Woman; Tour Saint Antoine, Loches; Bridge, Amsterdam; and Blue and Opal: Herring Fleet.
This comprehensive catalog celebrates the collection by exploring how Whistler transformed his immediate surroundings into the “realm of art.” As an innovative painter, printmaker, and designer, the American born Whistler (1834–1903) described the world around him in many different ways over his long career in which he redefined the meaning and purpose of art. Working primarily in London, Paris, and Venice, the cosmopolitan Whistler experimented with an assortment of styles ranging from Realism to Aestheticism and Symbolism in order to reimagine the places and people he encountered on a daily basis. Lavishly illustrating over 300 Whistlers in the Lunder Collection, the catalog features twenty-four essays that analyze and reflect on the dominant themes in Whistler’s artistic practice. They highlight the myriad ways he used art to elevate the cities, streets, and landscapes of Europe he knew so well into beautiful works of art.