About this Event
Artistic Ideals and Ideas Go to Court: Whistler v. Ruskin
As part of the series “Lowe Connects,” the Museum is pleased to host a virtual discussion about one of the most infamous conflicts in art history: Whistler v. Ruskin.
James Abbott McNeill Whistler was one of the most celebrated and controversial artists in the late nineteenth-century art world, and John Ruskin was one of the most eminent art historians of his time as well as an artist himself. The rivalry between these two strong and combative personalities was notorious. Their animosity came to a climax when Whistler sued Ruskin for libel following a particularly harsh piece of art criticism centering on Whistler’s nearly abstract painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, 1875. This led to the legendary public spectacle of an 1878 trial in a London courtroom where Whistler testified, and other artists were called as witnesses.
This presentation will be led by Amanda T. Zehnder, Chief Curator for Special Collections and Museums, University of Delaware Library. Zehnder is one of the co-curators of the exhibition Friends and Enemies: Whistler and his Artistic, Literary, and Social Circles, currently available online.
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