Curator Margaret MacDonald talks to our Director of Collections, Rebecca Lyons, about the life of Joanna Hiffernan and the works of art that resulted from her partnership with James McNeill Whistler.
Please note: this is an online event.
For a decade from when the couple met in 1860, Joanna Hiffernan featured in most of Whistler’s major works. But their relationship was more complex than simply artist and muse. A consistent presence in Whistler’s personal and professional life for more than 20 years, Hiffernan played a significant role in his career and it was a partnership of creative collaboration.
In this online event, Margaret MacDonald, curator of the RA’s exhibition Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan, and Rebecca Lyons, Director of Collections & Learning at the RA, discuss the relationship between Whistler and Hiffernan. They will examine Hiffernan’s importance in the making, reception and cultural context of Whistler’s many paintings, drawings, and prints, and will consider the wider story of their life together in London and Paris.
Margaret F. MacDonald is Professor Emerita and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow. She is a leading authority on James McNeill Whistler and has written and co-written numerous publications on the artist including James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours: A Catalogue Raisonné (1995), Palaces in the Night: Whistler in Venice (2001) and The Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan and James McNeill Whistler (2020).
There will be an opportunity for audience questions at the end of the event.
Image: James Abbott McNeill Whistler,
Wapping (detail), 1860-64.
Oil on canvas. 72 x 101.8 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, John Hay Whitney Collection.