Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow


Leon Bourgeois

Birthname: Léon Victor Auguste Bourgeois
Nationality: French
Date of birth: 28 May 1851
Place of birth: Paris
Date of death: 29 September 1925
Place of death: château d'Oger (Marne)
Category: politician


The son of a clock-maker, Léon Bourgeois was a distinguished and influential French politician and Ministre des Beaux-Arts. He has been called the 'spiritual father' of the United Nations, and was a statesman, jurist, artist and scholar.He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920.


With the help of the politician Georges Clemenceau, Bourgeois was persuaded to visit Goupil's gallery in Paris in 1891 where Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother y101 was being exhibited, with the result that the French government offered to buy the portrait. The work was purchased on 27 November 1891 for 4000 francs. Whistler and Bourgeois were in regular correspondence during this time.


Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; Dictionnaire de biographie francaise, Paris, 1970, vol. 6, p. 1475; MacDonald, Margaret F., (ed.) Whistler's Mother: An American Icon, Aldershot and Burlington, 2003 .

The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler, 1855-1903, edited by Margaret F. MacDonald, Patricia de Montfort and Nigel Thorp; including The Correspondence of Anna McNeill Whistler, 1855-1880, edited by Georgia Toutziari. Online edition, University of Glasgow. 'The Nobel Peace Prize 1920 Léon Bourgeois', Nobel Prizes and Laureates website.