Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Daniel S. Sutherland

Daniel E. Sutherland is Distinguished Professor of History, University of Arkansas. The recipient of more than fifty awards, honors, and grants, he is best known for his acclaimed series of books chronicling nineteenth-century America.

His latest book is Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake.

From Sutherland's Q & A with David Ebony at the Yale University Press blog:

David Ebony: Why Whistler? Why now? How did the book evolve?

Daniel S. Sutherland After publishing a number of books on the Civil War, I decided I needed a break. I pulled out an art history book and went to a chapter on Whistler. It was a fascinating story, and I wound up devoting the following six or seven years to him. I had an enormous learning curve that stretched out over a long period of time. I immediately set out to learn the methodology of how to write a biography. I read all the previous biographies of Whistler, and practically all those I could find on anyone and everyone he knew.

Ebony: How did your approach differ from the other Whistler biographers?

Sutherland I tried to more thoroughly and successfully draw the distinction between the fanciful image we have of Whistler the showman, and the painter who was completely devoted to his art. I wanted to emphasize the complexities of the fellow. The subtitle of the book plays off this idea. Above all, Whistler was someone dedicated to creating beautiful things. Some of his contemporaries misunderstood this and so he felt he had to define himself as an artist. In writing the book, I tried to think of art as Whistler did, and focused on his concern for his own legacy.

Ebony: His obsessive anxiety about his legacy seems to have started very early on.

Sutherland He was convinced...[read on]
Visit Daniel Sutherland's faculty webpage, and learn more about Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake.

My Book, The Movie: Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake.

--Marshal Zeringue