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The Gentle Art: Friends and strangers in Whistler’s prints

Museums and galleries in Cambridge will be closed to the public as part of a period of national/local restrictions.

To complement the major show on James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), the Print Room is holding an exhibition of the artist’s etchings, drypoints and lithographs from the Fitzwilliam’s collection, focusing on people. The range includes figures emerging from the shadows in the artist’s early ‘French set’ of the 1850s, intimate domestic scenes of friends and fellow artists in London, and late lithographs of nudes and portraits of his sister-in-law ‘Bunnie’, made in the 1890s. Whistler’s relationships with a number of friends quickly soured as they became the victims of his humour. On such occasions his butterfly signature acquired a barbed tail to match the sting of his sharp wit, as immortalised in his collection of letters and pamphlets, such as 'The Gentle Art of Making Enemies' that is displayed in the exhibition.

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