James McNeill Whistler
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (July 10, 1834 — July 17, 1903) was an American-born, British-based artist. Averse to sentimentality and moral allusion
A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim...

 in painting, he was a leading proponent of the credo "art for art's sake
Art for art's sake
"Art for art's sake" is the usual English rendering of a French slogan, from the early 19th century, l'art pour l'art, and expresses a philosophy that the intrinsic value of art, and the only "true" art, is divorced from any didactic, moral or utilitarian function...

". His famous signature for his paintings was in the shape of a stylized butterfly possessing a long stinger for a tail. The symbol was apt, for it combined both aspects of his personality—his art was characterized by a subtle delicacy, while his public persona was combative.

Two and two continue to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five.

Whistler v. Ruskin

"I know of only two painters in the world," said a newly introduced feminine enthusiast to Whistler, "yourself and Diego Velázquez|Velasquez." "Why," answered Whistler in dulcet tones, "why drag in Velasquez?"

D.C. Seitz, Whistler Stories (1913)

[In response to a lady who said that a landscape reminded her of his work] Yes, madam, Nature is creeping up.

D.C. Seitz, Whistler Stories

A group from Glasgow sought in 1891 to purchase his portrait of Thomas Carlyle was shocked that Whistler's price was 1000 guineas. A spokesman countered that the portrait was not even life size. Whistler replied, "But, you know, few men are life size."

Tom Prideaux and Time-Life Books, The World of Whistler (1970)

May I therefore acknowledge the tender glow of health induced by reading, as I sat here in the morning sun, the flattering attention paid me by your gentleman of ready wreath and quick biography!

After a Dutch newspaper prematurely reported his death in 1902

Art is a goddess of dainty thought,reticent of habit,abjuring all obthisiveness,purposing in no way to better others.She is ,withal selfishly occupied with her own perfection only- having no desire to teach.

Art is upon the Town!

Listen! There was never an artistic period. There was never an art-loving nation.