There is a recurring figure in the work of the American painter James McNeil Whistler. He met her in London and she is the enigmatic woman in the paintings Symphony in White, No. 1 and No. 2., her hair a dark auburn (“Rossetti red,” one might call it) and her face pale. An Irish model, her name was Joanna Hiffernan and she was Whistler’s lover for two decades. But she was also much more—his muse and confidante, friend and collaborator. This exhibition is the first ever to explore the role of Hiffernan in Whistler’s life and art. —E.C.
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