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James Whistler Self-Portrait as Rembrandt

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Directory: Fine Art: Paintings: Oil: N. America: American: Pre 1910: item # 781178

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James Whistler Self-Portrait as Rembrandt
Please notice the new image overlays on Whistler. These match very well. After 50 years+ of ownership and research by an Art Collector this unknown Self-Portrait of an Artist has been identified. The Old Master Collector who purchased this Portrait does not remember where he bought the Portrait. It was a habit of his to visit Antique and Art Shops around the world during his travels. He especially enjoyed working the shops in England for works of Art. He placed this Portrait in his office and described it as "Unknown Artist" Self-Portrait. He described the Portrait as 29 1/2" x 22" and a brief description as follows: "We have long owned this fine Self-Portrait of an Artist thinking that it is French, late 19th century. But when I showed it to Dr. Ursula de Goede, the Expert of European 19th century paintings at the RKD in The Hague, She told me that she believes it to be American. Someday someone will recognize the Artist, and it's true value. Her evaluation was correct! My research has identified the Artist as James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). There is a subtle Signature Butterfly Design on the right side of the Portrait. Whistler was influenced by Rembrandt, and he achieved the status of a Modern Old Master in this Self-Portrait. Notice on the top right hand side you will see the X-ray of this portrait. The other images at the top are images of Whistler for your evaluation. To date, we are still looking for a late photo image of Whistler. When this portrait was X-rayed, we found that in the original painting there was a left hand which had been painted over. Whistler was known to have re-worked his best works. This self-portrait is a perfect balance between the image of the elderly Whistler with its arrangement of color and shape. Notice the Whistler butterfly/scorpian tail signature on the parasol image on the right side. X-rays show the front part of the beret over the head was added later and the area of the signature has not been touched or changed in any way. Notice that Whistler copied Rembrandt's Self-Portrait in many ways. He copied the pose, thick impasto paint on the face, the dark beret hat, and especially the raised eye brow. As for the circular design next to the self-portrait of Whistler, this was inspired by the parasol design with the painted butterfly on top. The arrangement of colors throughout this portrait are perfectly balanced. In addition, please refer to Rembrandt's Self Portrait with Beret and the Self Portrait with Two Circles and compare it to the JW Portrait. Again, the anatomical face structures of the JW Portrait matches the photo images of Whistler and his family. To date, we have made a study of Dr. William Whistler, Whistler's brother, and we have found that his images along with a 1895 drawing of the Dr., matches the image of JW. Dr. William Whistler, JW, and their father all had very simular appearances. Our image overlay matches all three. The X-ray which shows the left hand painted over matches the abstract hands in several of JW's Self-Portrait. The signature butterfly on this self portrait is very similar to the signature on Whistler's harmony in blue and gold: The Little Blue Girl and the purple and gold: Phryne the Superb! Builder of Temples 1898. Both of these paintings were in Whistler's Studio at his death in 1903. Rembrandt's influence over Whistler presents itself in this rare and one-of-a-kind self-portrait. Whistler believed the quality of his art was improving as he aged, and this is why he did not like selling his creations!! Whistler knew he could match or better the talent of Rembrandt. The quality of this self-portrait matches that of Rembrandt's portraits; however it does not meet the accepted Whistler points of comparison. It is my opinion, this self-portrait is the only exception to Whistler's famous creed "Art For Art Sake"!! Whistler never intended this self-portrait to see the light of day, and it was for his eyes only because it represented a total rejection of his art career. Before his death, Whistler made a list of his art in his studio to be destroyed to protect his art legacy. Time will confirm my opinion!! Keep in mind, this self-portrait is signed by Whistler in two places!! This great portrait was purchased from Alfred Bader Fine Arts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Alfred Bader called the art without attribution "Puzzle Art"!!! It will take many expert reviews and time to complete our confirmation!! Chemical Analysis of the paint shows an average of six separate tests were Lead Pb 26.2%, Sulfur S 12.6%, Iron Ir 9.5%, Zinc Zn 10.6%, Calcium Ca 1.6%, Arsenic As .9%, and Chlorine Cl .7%. Refer to the photo page with the paint test results.


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