James McNeill Whistler, A Figure of Controversy: His Art and Its Influence on Nineteenth Century Europe
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This project was a constant source of amazement, interest,and frustration during the many months I have worked on it. The final product has little to do with the primary idea, other than Mr. Whistler as the central character. It is a curious thing to watch an amoebic thought become a complex structure, and a difficult thing to cut that eventual monstrous growth down to size. There are so many things that I wished I could have explored in greater depth, such as Whistler's influential hand in interior decorating, the connection of his art with Art Nouveau, his relationships with the artistic world in France -- my seedling goal, his relationships with Americans abroad, art patronage in the nineteenth century, the rise of the art gallery and private dealership as the avenue to success outside of the National Academies' stranglehold . . . I could go on. Had I been allowed, I would have followed my natural inclination to explore each of these fascinating tributaries and would never have written a word about the mainstream project. That, of course, is not the major point behind doing a Senior Individualized Project; the quarter long exploration and exploration of a single topic. There were times, however, when I felt sure that the major point of doing a S.I.P. was simply to earn several. required credits in Seif-Inflicted-Panic.