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James McNeill Whistler

James McNeill Whistler

James McNeill Whistler has been called one of the greatest artists ever. He has also been dismissed as being no better than an artistic imposture who would charge 200 guineas - about $30,000 in today's currency - for "flinging a pot of paint at the public's face".

Due to the number of his letters, the public nature of his lifestyle, and his continual quest for recognition, Whistler is one of the most documented artists in history with the possible exception of Michelangelo (another highly self-promoting artist). So we know quite a bit about Jimmy, his life, his friends, and his enemies. You can learn some more about Anna McNeill's favorite (and only) son if you click here.

As his fans point out, Whistler has been the only American to have a painting hanging in the Louvre. Alas, that came to an end in the mid-1980's when the painting of his mother - famously known as "Whistler's Mother" but which he called "Arrangement in Grey and Black, #1" - was moved to the Museum d'Orsay. Tough luck, Jimmy.