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Walter Pach diary, 1903 June 24 through Sept. 14

Creator: Walter Pach

The celebrated and outspoken American painter and etcher James McNeill Whistler died unexpectedly in London on July 17, 1903, at age 69. Obituaries praised him as a “genius,” “one of the world’s great artists,” and “the originator of a new style.” The shock of his death was felt in art circles around the world. He introduced a subtle style of painting in which atmosphere and mood predominated. In the summer of 1903, American painter William Merritt Chase, also a renowned teacher, took his class abroad. In a diary entry made by his student Walter Pach (1883–1958), Chase announced the death of Whistler to the group: “Mr. Chase said at crit. that Whistler is dead. Great stir. Mr. Chase spoke finely about him.” Later in the day, Pach tried to sketch but gave up, writing, “the Whistler light was too much for me.”
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