The fashionables


A.N. Wilson on the new biography, Whistler: A Life for Art’s Sake

Bohemianism is inherently snobbish, because its practitioners believe they are more interesting than the conventional majority. Whistler made it his creed, to scandalise the middlebrow and middle-minded. His famous “aesthetic” lecture, “The Ten O’Clock”, claimed that art itself was a science. The lecture had a huge influenced [sic] on Marcel Proust, whose friend Robert de Montesquiou (model of the Baron de Charlus in In Search of Lost Time) was one of Whistler’s best subjects – Sutherland detects Whistler in Proust’s fictitious painter, Elstir.