North and Central America, United States
Fine and Visual Arts; Prints; Etchings
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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- Prints made from an etched printing plate, which is a metal plate on which a design is made by coating the plate with an acid-resistant substance, creating a design in the coating, and then exposing the plate to acid, which etches the plate where the metal is exposed. For designs incised directly into a copper plate using a burin or graver, use "engravings (prints)."
- Creative works, usually two-dimensional, depicting an outdoor scene dominated by the land, hills, fields, sky, trees, fields, rivers or other bodies of water, and other natural elements. Landscapes may include a near point of view in the foreground, but also usually depict a view into the distance. Landscapes may contain architecture or figures, but the primary focus remains the land. When an ocean, sea, or other large body of water dominates the picture, use "seascapes." For actual areas of land rather than depictions, use "landscapes (environments)."