Never prone to staying in a single location for too long, Whistler moved to London in 1859 and there began a series based on the docklands along the River Thames. Several of these prints are busy cityscapes populated by ships, workers, and bridges, while others focus on the shifting moods that accompany daybreak and nightfall. Lithography, with its charcoal rubbing-like appearance, is perfect for these atmospheric works. Nocturne (1878), a haunting image of a foggy London, is the best of these. The play of light Whistler achieves here is pure magic, unmatched by even his final Venetian prints.
The exhibition, on display through November 28, recognizes the wide range of Whistler's talent--which extends far beyond the famously solemn 1871 painting of his mother.
[Originally published in November, 2010.]