James A. McNeill Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on 11 July, 1834, to Major George Washington Whistler and Anna Matilda McNeill. Although he had employment as an etcher for the US Coast Survey, Whistler moved to Europe in 1855 to pursue a career in the arts. He spent most of his life in London and made many trips to Paris. He painted as a Symbolist, as opposed to his contemporaries, the Impressionists. He had a strong preference for decorative effects, and his work could be considered a precursor to Art Nouveau. Whistler believed Modern Art should be an homage to beauty. Whistler died on July 17, 1903, in London.