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Lagoon: Noon

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James McNeill Whistler
American (1834 - 1903) Primary

Lagoon: Noon


5 in. x 8 in. (12.7 cm x 20.32 cm)
Bequest of M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, 1894-1922

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: Deanery.220
K.216 (Previous No.)
North and Central America, United States
Fine and Visual Arts; Prints; Etchings
Culture/Nationality: American
Collection: Deanery Collection

James Whistler (1834-1903) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts; in his youth he studied art in St. Petersburg, London, and Paris, settling in France after a short career as a draftsman for the U.S. Coast Survey. Although he is known primarily for his paintings, Whistler also produced numerous etchings, lithographs, and drypoints.

In 1879, Whistler was commissioned to do a series of etchings in Venice, and following his relocation to London at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War (1870), he also produced etchings and lithographs depicting English landscapes and architecture.

This etching, showing several sailing vessels and a gondola in a Venetian lagoon, was produced in 1880 and published in 1886 with a series of twenty-six etchings known as the “Second Venice Set.” The wide stone bridge in the foreground is the Ponte de la Veneta Marina over the Rio de la Tana. Whistler’s characteristic signature – a monogram of his initials within an abstract butterfly – appears at the lower left. The print hung in the Blue Room of the Deanery along with other etchings by Whistler and several works of the French master, Charles Meryon.

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