“A great sensation” women in white in late Victorian literature and popular Culture

de Montfort, P. (2020) “A great sensation” women in white in late Victorian literature and popular Culture. In: MacDonald, M. F. (ed.) The Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan and James McNeill Whistler. Yale University Press: New Haven, CT, USA, pp. 147-156. ISBN 9780300254501

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Publisher's URL: https://www.yalebooks.co.uk/display.asp?K=9780300254501


In 1860 James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) and Joanna Hiffernan (1839–1886) met and began a significant professional and personal relationship. Hiffernan posed as a model for many of Whistler’s works, including his controversial Symphony in White paintings, a trilogy that fascinated and challenged viewers with its complex associations with sex and morality, class and fashion, academic and realist art, Victorian popular fiction, aestheticism and spiritualism. This luxuriously illustrated volume provides the first comprehensive account of Hiffernan’s partnership with Whistler throughout the 1860s and 1870s—a period when Whistler was forging a reputation as one of the most innovative and influential artists of his generation. A series of essays discusses how Hiffernan and Whistler overturned artistic conventions and sheds light on their interactions with contemporaries, including Gustave Courbet, for whom she also modeled. Packed with new insights into the creation, marketing, and cultural context of Whistler’s iconic works, this study also traces their resonance for his fellow artists, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edgar Degas, John Singer Sargent, and Gustav Klimt.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:de Montfort, Dr Patricia
Authors: de Montfort, P.
Subjects:N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Publisher:Yale University Press

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