Can You Find Whistler's Mother?

We're searching one of Paris' best museums for the 'Victorian Mona Lisa'

By Google Arts & Culture

James McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1

Welcome! Today we're searching for James McNeill Whistler's, Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 (1871), perhaps better known as Whistler's Mother. This painting is one of the most recognisable in the world, and has been described as the 'Victorian Mona Lisa'.

Portrait of the Artist's Mother (1871) by James Abbott McNeil WhistlerMusée d’Orsay, Paris

Whistler's Mother is held at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France. The museum sits inside a former railway station, whose curved steel roof creates an unbelievable gallery space - they even kept the clock.

We're in the north wing of the museum, and Whistler's Mother is somewhere near…

Here it is! James McNeill Whistler's Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1

So how does one painting end up with two names? When Whistler submitted the painting to the 104th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Art in London, 1872, he named it Arrangement in Grey and Black emphasising the abstract features of the work.

However, this was radical for the time, and many people couldn't see past the portrait of his mother. Reluctantly, he added the explanatory subtitle, Portrait of the Painter's mother. Since then, many people have known it simply as Whistler's Mother.

Portrait of the Artist's Mother (1871) by James Abbott McNeil WhistlerMusée d’Orsay, Paris

Thanks for joining the scavenger hunt! While you're here, why not take a look around the rest of the Musée d'Orsay, one of the largest and most prestigious art galleries in Europe. Vincent van Gogh and Edgar Degas aren't too far from here.

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