Whistler's Mothers

Whistler's Mothers

  • Artist

    W D Hammond

  • Production Date


  • Medium

    pencil, ink, acrylic on paper

  • Size

    1400 x 1850 mm

  • Credit

    Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2000

  • Accession Number


  • Accession Date

    15 Nov 2000

  • Department

    New Zealand Art

  • Classification


  • Collection


  • Subjects

    birds, wings

  • Description

    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)

Exhibition history