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Upcoming Exhibition

The Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan and James McNeill Whistler

July 3 – October 10, 2022
East Building Mezzanine

Joanna Hiffernan’s close professional and personal relationship with artist James McNeill Whistler lasted more than two decades—yet who was she? She is featured in numerous works by Whistler, including his three famous “Symphony in White” paintings, which are being shown together for the first time in the United States. While the intriguing “woman in white” has inspired artists from the Victorian era to today, little has been shared about Hiffernan and her influential role in Whistler’s life and work—until now.


Many works by James McNeill Whistler feature a striking, red-haired woman: Joanna Hiffernan. She was a consistent presence in his life for more than 20 years, yet we know little about her. Here we explore her life and role as a model, Whistler's images of her, and later works related to the "woman in white."

Selected Works

Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Royal Academy of Arts, London

The exhibition has been curated by Margaret F. MacDonald, professor of art history, School of Creative Arts, University of Glasgow, in collaboration with Ann Dumas, curator, Royal Academy of Arts, and consultant curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Charles Brock, associate curator, department of American and British paintings, National Gallery of Art.

Other venues
Royal Academy of Arts, London, February 23–May 23, 2022

Major support for the international tour of the exhibition is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Admission is always free and passes are not required.

Banner detail: James McNeill Whistler, Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl, 1864, oil on canvas, Tate, London, Bequeathed by Arthur Studd 1919, N03418. Image: © Tate, London 2017