James McNeill Whistler Quote

Why should not I call my works 'symphonies', 'arrangements', 'harmonies', and 'nocturnes'?... The vast majority of English folk cannot and will not consider a picture as a picture, apart from any story which it may be supposed to tell. My picture of 'Harmony in Grey and Gold' is an illustration of my meaning – as snow scene with a single black figure and lighted tavern. I care nothing for the past, present, or future of the black figure, placed there because the black was wanted at that spot. All that I know is that my combination of grey and gold is the basis of the picture, Now this is precisely what my friends cannot grasp.


In a letter to 'The World', London 22 Mai, 1878; as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 186

Picture Quote 1

Why should not I call my works 'symphonies', 'arrangements', 'harmonies', and 'nocturnes'?... The vast majority of English folk cannot and will not...

Picture Quote 2

Why should not I call my works 'symphonies', 'arrangements', 'harmonies', and 'nocturnes'?... The vast majority of English folk cannot and will not...

Picture Quote 3

Why should not I call my works 'symphonies', 'arrangements', 'harmonies', and 'nocturnes'?... The vast majority of English folk cannot and will not...

Picture Quote 4

Why should not I call my works 'symphonies', 'arrangements', 'harmonies', and 'nocturnes'?... The vast majority of English folk cannot and will not...