James McNeill Whistler's "Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1: Portrait of the Painter's Mother," better known as "Whistler's Mother," has only visited the United States a few times in the last half-century.
But beginning Sunday, visitors can enjoy the 19th century image at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Its home is the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, where it will return in June.
The institute pulled off the coup by offering the Musee d'Orsay a rare Whistler of its own -- "Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket" -- in a swap of sorts.
"Museums like ours don't usually horse trade in this fashion," said institute director Graham W.J. Beal. "In this case, it really was a suggestion that I made, because this is a painting that we lend so rarely that explaining my reason for lending this to the board members ... would be much strengthened if I could say that we had 'Whistler's Mother' coming here."