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Mark Rothko

Object Lesson: How Madame Manet and Whistler's Mother triggered a rupture in art

Object Lesson: How Madame Manet and Whistler's Mother triggered a rupture in art

In one of the central galleries at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, two women from two continents face each other from across a pair of gallery walls: the very composed, somewhat severe-looking mother of the 19th century American painter James Abbott McNeil Whistler and the dreamy, lost-in-thought Suzanne Manet, wife of Edouard, a pivotal figure in Western art, known for the frank depiction of his subjects (including the infamous reclining nude, "Olympia," as a prostitute). "Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1," as the beyond-legendary 1871 portrait of Whistler's mother is formally titled, generally resides at the Musée...

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