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Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl, Whistler (ASL)

Whistler knew that his statement about this work, “My painting simply represents a girl dressed in white standing in front of a white curtain,” was a provocation to viewers. A portrait of his mistress Joanna Hiffernan posed in an informal housedress with flowing hair, an impassive expression, and standing on a white bearskin rug, told Victorians perhaps more than they wished to know about Hiffernan’s worldiness, yet is a tour de force of painted texture and a study of white.