"Whistler, and his painting Whistler's Mother, had a profound effect on Claude Debussy, a contemporary French composer. In 1894, Debussy wrote to violinist Eugène Ysaÿe describing his Nocturnes as "an experiment in the different combinations that can be obtained from one color – what a study in grey would be in painting." Whether Debussy was using the term color to refer to orchestration or harmony, critics have observed "shades" of a particular sound quality in his music." Weintraub, Stanley. 2001. Whistler: A Biography (New York: Da Capo Press).
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, also called Portrait of the Artist's Mother 1871 Oil on canvas H. 144.3; W. 162.5 cm Paris, Musée d'Orsay© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay)
Here are Debussy's Nocturnes in a cool (excuse the pun) color coded analyses. I prefer his Clair de Lune, but I like the art and music connection here!
I'm Tracy Boberg Nichols. I teach Art at a classical school in Colorado. Researching, writing, and hand illustrating these timelines have been an unexpected obsession. My family call them my 'empty nest' projects. I call them a labor or love.