James Abbott McNeill Whistler was American painter, etcher, and lithographer who created a new set of principles for the fine arts, favored "art for art's sake", and introduced a delicate style of painting in which atmosphere and mood were the main focus. Establishing himself as a painter in Paris and London, Whistler developed his distinctive style, utilizing muted colors and simple forms. His paintings are notable for their clarity of design and distinctive loosely, airy manner. In later years Whistler devoted himself increasingly to etching, drypoint, lithography, and interior decoration. Portraits, printmaking, and small oil landscapes also continued to absorb his energy.
His masterpiece is largely credited as "Whistler's Mother" ("Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1"). His work later provided the inspiration for Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890).