The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

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Courier Corporation, 1967 - Art - 340 pages
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Whistler's "Gentle Art, " a classic in the literature of insult and denigration, might well be subtitled "The Autobiography of a Hater," for it contains the deadly sarcasm and stinging remarks of one of the wittiest men of the nineteenth century. Whistler not only refused to tolerate misunderstanding by critics and the so-called art-loving public--but launched vicious counterattacks as well. His celebrated passages-at-arms with Oscar Wilde and Swinburne, the terse and penetrating "letters to the editor," his rebuttals to attacks from critics, and biting marginal notes to contemptuous comments on his paintings and hostile reviews (which are also reprinted) are all part of this record of the artist's vendettas.
Whistler's most famous battle began when critic John Ruskin saw one of the artist's "Nocturnes" exhibited in Grosvenor Gallery. "I have seen, and heard," wrote Ruskin, "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 was incensed with this criticism, and initiated the famous libel case "Whistler vs. Ruskin." Extracts from the resultant trial record are among the highlights of this book, with Whistler brilliantly annihilating his Philistine critics, but winning only a farthing in damages.
"The Gentle Art, " designed by Whistler himself, is a highly entertaining account of personal revenges, but it is also an iconoclast's plea for a new and better attitude toward painting. As a historical document, it is the best statement of the new aesthetics versus the old guard academics, and it helped greatly in shaping the modern feeling toward art.
Unabridged, unaltered republication of the second (1892) edition.

 

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Contents

The Action
2
Professor Ruskins Group
20
ART ART CRITICS
21
Art and Art Critics
25
The Art Critic of the Times
35
The Position
37
Serious Sarcasm
38
Final
39
Nous avons changé tout cela
169
The Inevitable
173
Nobleiie oblige
174
Early Laurels
176
A Further Proposition
177
An Opportunity
181
The Opportunity Neglected
183
Nostalgia
184

Balaams Ass
41
The Point achnowledged
43
Critics Analysis
44
The Critics Mind Considered
45
A Troubled One
46
Confidences with an Editor
47
Critics Copy
50
A Proposal
51
The PainterEtcher Papers
52
Later
54
La Suite
61
A Correction
66
A Warning
67
Naïf Enfant
68
A Straight Tip
69
An Eager Authority
70
An Admission
71
Arry in the Grosvenor
72
Encouragement
74
A Remonstrance
75
Propositions
76
An Unanswered Letter
78
Inconsequences
79
Uncovered Opinions
80
The Fate of an Anecdote
81
In Excelisis
86
A Suspicion
87
Conviction
88
A CATALOGUE
91
Taking the Bait
106
An Apology
107
Jeux Innocents tn Tite Street
110
A Line from the Lands End
111
The Easy Expert
113
PropositionsNo 2
115
A Hint
118
A Distinction
119
A Document
121
Sacrilege
124
The Red Rag
126
A Rebuke
129
Les points sur les i
130
MR WHISTLERS TEN OCLOCK
131
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
135
Rengaines
161
Tenderness in Tite Street
162
TO THE PAINTER
163
To the Committee of the National Art Exhibition
164
Quand même
165
Philanthropy and Art
166
An Insinuation
187
An Imputatian
188
Autre Temps autre Mæurs
189
Talent in a Napkin
193
The Critic Catching on
194
Ingratitude
195
The Complacent One
196
The Criticflaneur
197
A Playedout Policy
199
An Interview with an exPresident
205
Statistics
211
A Retrospect
213
The New Dynasty
218
An Embroidered Interview
219
The Pall Mall Puzzled
221
Official Bumbledom
223
Aussi que diable allaitil faire dans cette galère ?
225
The Royal Society of British Artists and their Signboard
226
An Official Letter
229
The Home of Taste
230
Another Poacher in the Chelsea Preserves
233
A Suggestion
235
The Habit of Second Naturts
236
In the Market Place
239
Panic
241
Just Indignation
243
An Advanced Critic
244
The Advantage of Explanation
245
Testimony
247
An Apostasy
250
Et tu Brute
259
Freeing a Last Friend
262
An Editors Anxiety
264
Rassurez vous
265
Whistlers Grievance
266
Whacking Whistler
269
Whistlers Grievance
273
The ArtCritics Friend
277
A Question
279
The End of the Piece
282
Exit the Prompter
283
LEnvoi
285
AutoBiographical
288
Mr Whistler had on hit own Toast
289
What Mr Whittler had on his own Toast
291
A CATALOGUE
293
INDEX
339
DOVER BOOKS ON FINE ART
347
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