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Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan

26 February — 22 May 2022

This exhibition is now closed

See upcoming exhibitions


“Brings to life one of the most revolutionary moments in the story of art”

The Guardian


“A fascinating story”

The Telegraph

“Whistler’s woman in white finally has her day at the Royal Academy of Arts”

The Art Newspaper

"She may be the most mesmerising figure in modern art history"

The Telegraph

Joanna Hiffernan’s relationship with Whistler ran deeper than artist and muse. In this rich exhibition we explore her life and role as a friend, model, lover and collaborator.

Please note:

• For the best experience and to ensure entry at your preferred time, book ahead.
• Friends of the RA can visit this exhibition for free between 6-9pm on the first Friday of the month (exclusive to Friends, last entry 8.20pm).
• Download our large print guide.

Many of James McNeill Whistler’s works feature the red-haired figure of Joanna Hiffernan. Her close professional and personal relationship with the artist lasted for two decades, yet little about her role or influence in his life has been explored – until now.

Today considered one of the best-known names of the late 19th-century Aesthetic Movement, Whistler moved to London as a young painter hoping to forge his reputation. It was here that he met Joanna Hiffernan, an Irish model who would become his muse, confidante and more.

In this exhibition, we uncover the role Joanna played in the artist’s career and discover how Whistler’s revolutionary paintings featuring Hiffernan went on to influence other artists from the Pre-Raphaelites to Klimt.

This exhibition is organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London and by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Our Friends preview days take place on Thursday 24 February, 10am-6pm, and Friday 25 February, 10am-9pm.

26 February — 22 May 2022

Tickets £17 (£15 without donation). Concessions available. For the best experience, book ahead.

The Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries