On Difficulties, The Evasion Of

Regarding the painter James McNeill Whistler, another painter, Edward Burne-Jones, leveled the charge that he (i.e. Whistler) had “evaded the difficulties of his art.” And added: “[T]he difficulty of an artist increases every day of his professional life.”

That Whistler’s work is now regarded as capital-I Important (while Burne-Jones’ has been relegated to obscurity) is not proof, but at least suggests, that perhaps Whistler’s method of composition is superior — that art (of any description) is, in fact, the result of a purposeful evasion of difficulties.


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