Frame by Frame
Taking a look at Courbet, in a Whistler canvas
It’s odd to think of James McNeill Whistler, of Lowell, as a protégé of Gustave Courbet, of Ornans. But for a little while, he was. An Irishwoman, Jo Hiffernan, came between them. But in the end, you feel, their falling apart came down to a question of temperament. Courbet, whose distant, straight-backed, slightly paunchy figure is shown standing on the beach in the beautiful “Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville” by Whistler, was the father of 19th-century realism. Whistler, by contrast, was the father of 19th-century escapism.