Americans Artists in Europe - Whistler, Homer & Sargent

Well-known and loved American painters who travelled to London, Paris & Munich. Some stayed only a year and some stayed a lifetime – but they gave us much loved artworks. Who knew who, what were the scandals of the art world that involved them?


  • James Abbott McNeil Whistler (1834-1903) - Paris & London: Whistler’s painting of his mother is an image many know – she is painted side-on and quite austere. It is titled Arrangement in Grey and Black No 1. (1871) but is better known as Whistler’s Mother to visitors of the Musee D’Orsay in Paris where it hangs. Born in Massachusetts in 1834, Whistler spent part of his childhood in St Petersburg, and after being dismissed from the US Military Academy at West Point, he moved to Paris to study art. We will find out why he was such a controversial figure, having very public disputes with John Ruskin and Oscar Wilde and yet well-connected.
  • Winslow Homer (1836-1910) - England: Winslow Homer is regarded by many as the greatest American artist of the 19th century – his time in Europe was quite short but it significantly changed his painting style. He was primarily a landscape painter and his marine paintings often show drama and have wonderful narrative that keeps us intrigued. Born in Boston, early in his working life, he was sent to the front lines of the American Civil War to sketch the events. He later worked in oils and watercolours and his enduring images have a powerful element.
  • Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) – Paris: Mary Cassatt was born in Pennsylvania but lived much of her adult life in Paris. After issues having her paintings accepted by the Salon, she was invited by Edgar Degas to exhibit with the Impressionists om Paris. She moved within the Impressionist artist circles, and was a friend and colleague of Berthe Morisot, another French female artist. She was part of the wave of feminism of the 1840s and sought to support herself through her work. Her images were mainly of women and children. Her work is held in both Paris and many US art museums and the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris held a retrospective of her work in 2018.
  • William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) – Munich: Credited with being the man who taught America’s Masters, and one who influenced American Impressionism, William Merritt Chase’s early encounter with European painting was with Munich rather than Paris. On being offered the opportunity to study in Europe he purposefully selected Munich as he felt it would offer less distraction than Paris. He painted landscapes, portraits and even still- life art works, established the Chase school and took Summer Tours of students to Europe to show them the Old Masters such as Frans Hals and Rubens. This week we will learn who were the many well -known American artists that he taught and those that he remained in touch with in Europe.
  • John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) – Paris & London: John Singer Sargent’s 1884 Paris Salon entry Portrait of Madame X caused the Paris public to be scandalised, with a result that soon after, he moved permanently to England. Today this painting is recognised as one of his most brilliant art works. He himself stated he thought it was the best had had ever painted when he sold the work to the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York in 1916. Born in Florence to expatriate American parents, Sargent only ever visited the US and yet is considered an American artist. In this lecture we will find out what caused the scandal and how well-connected Singer Sargent was into the art world of his day.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Have an enhanced awareness of the key contributions made by the American artist to European art in the 19th century.
  2. Recognise the names and painting styles of some well-known and respected American artist working within the European art world.
  3. Gain an understanding of the social & historical influences on the artists that informed their practice.
  4. Identify and provide some self- analysis to the paintings and styles.
$166 Limited / $149

<p>Well-known and loved American painters who travelled to London, Paris & Munich. Some stayed only a year and some stayed a lifetime – but they gave us much loved artworks. Who knew who, what were

22 Oct

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