W D Hammond

Whistler's Mothers

Whistler's Mothers by W D Hammond

Artwork Detail

James Abbott MacNeil Whistler’s mother was Anna Whistler (1804-1881) and she the subject of the artist’s most famous painting Arrangement in Grey and Black Number One: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother, known as ‘Whistler’s Mother’ of 1871 (Musee d’Orsay, Paris). Such was the fame of the painting, ‘Whistler’s Mother’, that the French State purchased it for the people of France.

Bill Hammond often takes a wry, yet cherishing, look at New Zealanders, showing women and men transformed into birds some of the country’s pre-human inhabitants. Yet, these birds express anthropomorphic aspects of age and gender, personality and character much like their human counterparts. Birds are transformed into other beings; sometimes they look like All Black rugby football players, or women who appear more in control of their lives than men. Hammond’s ‘birds’ may be seen in profile, like Whistler’s Mother, yet they all share as much expression in the representation of personality and character. (Sea Knowing and Island Looking, 2002)

Whistler's Mothers
W D Hammond
Production date
pencil, ink, acrylic on paper
1400 x 1850 mm
Credit line
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2000
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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