Lithograph on chine collé
Sheet: 17.1 x 26 cm (6 3/4 x 10 1/4 in.)
Bequest of Charles T. Brooks 1941.89
Catalogue raisonné: Way 5
State: only state
Whistler was the first to borrow musical terms for the titles of his works of art. In 1872, he defined painting as "the exact correlative of music, as vague, as purely emotional, as released from all functions of representation." Whistler’s use of musical terminology was meant to convey the supremacy of color, line, and form over subject matter in his art. The title Nocturne was suggested by the artist’s patron, Frederick Leyland, an enthusiastic amateur pianist who was especially fond of Chopin, whose nocturnes were regarded as the epitome of Romantic mood music—particularly appropriate for Whistler’s moonlit marine views.
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