James McNeill Whistler - The Gold Scab 1862

The Coast of Brittany 1861 Blue and Silver. The Blue Wave Biarritz 1862 Symphony in White no.10. The White Girl Portrait of Joanna Hiffernan 1862 The Gold Scab 1862 The Last of Old Westminster 1862 Battersea Reach 1863 Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses 1863
The Gold Scab 1862

The Gold Scab: Eruption in Frilthy Lucre. The Creditor 1862
186x139cm oil/canvas
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, California, United States

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From Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, California:
In 1878, appalled by what he perceived as the unfinished quality of Whistler’s highly abstracted Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (1875), the English art critic John Ruskin accused the artist of “flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.” Whistler sued Ruskin for libel, and was ultimately forced to file for bankruptcy, for despite winning the suit, he was awarded a humiliating quarter penny in damages. Whistler’s chief creditor was Leyland, so when the creditors arrived to inventory the artist’s home for liquidation, they were greeted by this mocking portrait.
The Gold Scab depicts Leyland as a hideous peacock, sitting upon Whistler’s house as if it were an obscene egg. Using the same colors featured in the disputed Peacock Room, the artist caricatures Leyland’s miserliness, piano skills, and habit of wearing frilled shirts (hence the title, “Frilthy Lucre”). Whistler’s butterfly monogram bears a barbed tail poised to strike at Leyland’s neck.