Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Level 2 Floor Plan
James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) lived in London’s Chelsea neighborhood from 1863 until his death. Bordering the Thames, Chelsea was home to artists, aristocrats, tradesmen, and paupers. In the 1880s, a period of great social and topographic upheaval in Chelsea, Whistler depicted the storefronts and street life outside his door. Historic buildings were razed and replaced by mansions for the upper class, forcing the poor into squalid conditions. The diminutive etchings in Whistler’s Neighborhood, which also features watercolors and small oil paintings, underscore the immediacy of the artist’s quick impressions of his evolving neighborhood. Together, the works form a time capsule of a rapidly changing city.