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Whistler, James McNeill (1834-1903) - 1871 Nocturne, Blue and Silver (Tate Gallery)

Whistler was the founder of the "tonalist" movement. Tonalism is a style that emerged in the 1880s when American artists began to paint landscapes with an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist. Dark, neutral hues, such as gray, brown or blue, would usually dominate. During the late 1890s American art critics began to use the term "tonal" to describe these works.


Tonalism is also sometimes used to describe landscapes which employ an emphasis on mood and shadow. Tonalism, in both its forms, was eclipsed by the popularity of Impressionism and European modernism.

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Taken on February 10, 2009