Outside the Frame: The Astonishing Life of Whistler’s Mother

Outside the Frame: The Astonishing Life of Whistler’s Mother

This program, complete with slides, focuses on Anna Whistler’s life in nineteenth-century America, Czarist Russia, and bohemian London, where she lived with her eccentric son, the brilliant artist James McNeill Whistler. William McNeill, a relative of Anna, traces the history of the Whistler’s Mother portrait from a nineteenth-century masterpiece to a twenty-first century American icon and popular culture object of caricature. Behind Anna’s calm and serene countenance lies an amazing story of a courageous woman born in Wilmington, NC, who raised two sons, lost three in infancy, sailed across the Atlantic at least five times, lived in luxury in the barbaric fairyland of Czarist Russia, survived the Civil War, and risked her life to run the Federal Blockade in order to be with son James in London. McNeill has pieced together a portrait that contradicts the popular conception of Anna as a dour Puritan and stern matriarch. Instead, he shows her to be a devoutly religious but indulgent mother, and an educated and cultivated woman whose life was full of adventure and paradox.

Requirements: 
Two 20-foot extension cords, an AV cart