*This work, which is a depiction of a fireworks display in London’s Cremorne Gardens, is probably Whistler’s most infamous painting. It was the central issue of a libel suit that involved the art critic John Ruskin and the artist. Ruskin had publicly slandered the work by making the statement, “I have seen, and heard, much of cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.” Whistler won the libel suit; however, he was awarded only the token damages of one farthing. This is one of Whistler’s many “Nocturnes,” which are characterized by a moody atmosphere, a subtle palette, and overall tonalist qualities.
“there is only one way to avoid criticism, do nothing, be nothing, say nothing.”
*art: James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket,
1875, oil on panel. Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of Dexter M. Ferry, Jr.