John James Whistler worked on “The White Girl” religiously, and was known for getting up early to finish the work. (First of all, I can barely make Soul Survivor and that crap’s at nearly ten in the morning.)
Whistler, most famous for his mother, was twenty-seven at the time of painting “The White Girl.” Once submitting the work, he went to the Royal Academy of Arts (London’s equivalent of the French Salon) to see where it had been installed…and he found it, laying gently in a stack of rejects.
Misery loves company, apparently, because girlfriend ended up being rejected by the French Salon itself! It ended up being exhibited with other castoffs, including Manet’s NSFW Déjeuner sur L’Herbe.
Last note: Whistler opted for “Symphony in White” as its new title to draw attention to the “true” subject — the paint. Personally, I would’ve tied in the bearskin rug or her frizzy hair to the whole symphony thing. Just a thought.