How Whistler’s Mother became a powerful symbol of the Great Depression – in pictures

The Mona Lisa, The Scream, Andy Warhol’s paintings of Marilyn Monroe: there are few artworks so ardently referenced, replicated and parodied long after their maker’s lifetime. James McNeill Whistler’s Portrait of the Artist’s Mother 1871, more commonly known as Whistler’s Mother, is another such artistic touchstone, and is showing in Australia for the first time at the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s accompanied by images and objects that give context to the US artist and his mother, Anna, in an exhibition that explores how the painting struck a chord with audiences during the Great Depression as a symbol of mothers stoically bearing hardship. Captions provided by the NGV

Continue reading…