A young boy sits sideways on a chair and looks at the viewer. The chair faces the viewer; the boy sits facing to the right, his left leg crossed over the right. He his left hand is on the back of the chair, and his right hand holds his left foot. He has thick waving hair and is dressed in a short black velvet coat and striped pants. Behind him is a curtain and on the floor at lower right is a dark straw hat.
Whistler was very fond of his sister's children and he depicted Annie and Arthur several times, including images of them in the French Set. This work has wonderful drypoint lines, employed most notably in the dark jacket he is wearing.
A river stretches before the viewer. In the foreground are a several rows of flat, mast-less boats tied to the quay. A group of ships with sails furled are at anchor in the middle of the river. On either side and extending into the distance can be seen buildings that hug either bank of the river.
Although he had begun to work in lithography by this time, Whistler reprised a number of views of the docks and commercial buildings that had won him such acclaim when the Thames Set was published in 1871. Recalling the teaming wharves of "Eagle Wharf" and "Rotherthite", Whistler may have hoped that these new plates showing the Pool of London would help alleviate his financial distress.
On the plate, u.l.: Butterfly monogram Signed, in pencil, on tab: Butterfly monogram and imp. In pencil, on verso, l.r. (in Whistler's hand): Before last State / Butterfly monogram Watermark: (elaborate)
Seen from the water's edge, a canal in the foreground curves to the right and back into space. In the ditant view, buildings with balconies and chimney pots are visible as well as a bridge that is cropped by the curve of the waterway. In the foreground, across the canal, are several arched entryways. A dark waterdoor is open and shows a man on the steps and two shadowy figures behind him framed in the doorway; a lantern hangs overhead. To the right, another arched doorway with a metal grille above faces the canal, but is closed. A small open window on the seond floor can be seen between the arched doors.
As Otto Bacher recorded, Whistler often sought sites along the back canals that were full of possibilities, often working from the surface of the water in a gondola. Here the qualities of the old gothic and renaissance doors and crumbling walls attract the artist's attentions. In other states Whistler concentrated on the figures in the open doorway, redrawing them in relationship to the dark passage beyond.
Three women sit just inside the doorway of a building shown frontally to the viewer. The doorway is framed by windows on either side within an archietctural framework that connects the windows and door with a dado under the windows. The women have a large piece of fabric laid over their laps on which they are working. The woman at the left is angled so that she is looking into the room; the other two look out at the viewer. The profile of a fourth woman is visible in the central window on the left side of the door.
Whistler's continuing interest in the arrangements of doorways and windows as a compositional focus dates back to his early work in the French Set. Here, the composition recalls some of his Venice etchings, such as "The Bead-Stringers", but is handled with the light, hair-like fine lines of the Amsterdam etchings. The result is an of evansecent, almost shimmering effect of light.
A woman draped in diaphanous drapery sits on a couch facing the viewer. The arm of the couch is visible at the left of the image and the woman glances down towards her knees. To the right is a flower-like form that is the artist's "butterfly" signature.
Draped figures were important to Whistler's work, reflecting his interest in Asian drapery as well as Greek 'tanagra' terracotta figurines that had become popular in Victorian England.
Whistler was asked by André Marty to submit a lithograph to Marty's publication, "L'Estampe Oiginale"; this image was the one that Whistler selected to be included in that French publication. As Whistler wrote to his printer Thomas Way, "The little sitting figure in drapery I am immensely pleased with...The work is beginning to have the mystery in execution of a painting."
A scene of figures in doorways and examing goods outside a store occupies the lower portion of the image while the architecture--windows, downspouts, signs, and string courses creates a rectilinear framework of the second floor.
During the 1880s, Whistler was executed images of shop fronts throughout London, particularly in Chelsea. Maunder's Fish Shop was shown in paintings as well as in this lithograph. In these works he explores the lively street life with shoppers, children, and merchants against the regular rhythms of the architecture that extends above them.
In a tranquil pastoral setting, a man stands in a punt (or shallow-bottomed open boat) with a pipe in his mouth and holding a pole to help propel himself through the shallow river.
This scene in rural England was one of two images that Whistler contributed to the volume "Passages from Modern English Poets," published in 1862. The other work by Whistler among the 47 etchings in the book was "Sketching No. 1".
A rural countryside with a river flowing into the distance at the right dominates the scene. Two figures in a rowboat are at the center of the image and at the lower right corner, an artist, seated on a camp stool and facing away from the viewer, sketches the rowers.
This scene in rural England was one of two images that Whistler contributed to the volume "Passages from Modern English Poets," published in 1862. The other work by Whistler among the 47 etchings in the book was "The Punt".
The corner of a massive building with awnings on both sides is seen on the right side; it has arched windows above the street level windows and several stories with balconies above. To the left is a long sloping stairway with awnings projecting above the stairway. In the distance beyond the stairway can be see the tower of a church. Buildings at the far left of the composition are barely indicated. Pediestrians are visible throughout, adjacent to the buildings on either side as well as ascending the stairs.
Whistler's choice for subjects while in Venice rarely included the major monuments, familiar through the work of artists from Canaletto and Guardi to Turner earlier in the century. Here, the famed Rialto Bridge that crosses the Grand Canal is not shown in its immediately recognizable view spanning the water, but from the side of the bridge, showing the stairs that allow pedestrians to cross the Grand Canal. This disoriented vantage point is further heightened by the elevated position that opens up an undescribed passage at the bottom of the image.
Whistler wrote to his mother from Venice saying how he had "discovered a Venice within Venice that others never seem to have perceived." This etching of Venice's most famous bridge illustrates Whistler's penchant for finding subjects along back canals and in otherwise unexplored views.
A man with moustache and beard stands facing slightly towards the left, strumming a guitar.
The painter Matthew White Ridley was a friend of Whistler's and posed for at least two of Whistler's etchings (the other being "The Storm"). Here the rich drypoint hatching is combined with artistic printing--the retention of films of ink employed in an expressive way--to increase the drama of the portrait. The plate tone is used to convey shadow on the right side of the figure--an updated form of chiarscuro.
A man in a cap sits in a rowboat in the foreground, his chin on his hand looking at the viewer. A number of other boats, all unoccupied, create a barrier between the man and the open expanse of the river that curves towards the left in the distance. The water's edge is congested with wooden buildings and ships, some in dry dock.
In 1859, Whistler spent several months living in Wapping and Rotherthite, creating a number of etchings depicting the bustling commercial docks and warehouses that fringed the Pool of London. These views of modern life represented a departure from traditionally elevated subject matter of art, including scenes from the Bible and ancient history. The French poet Charles Baudelaire had encouraged contemporary artists to find 'the heroism of modern life' in contemporary subjects; when Baudelaire saw these views of London, he lauded Whistler's work as exactly the kind of new approach that he had hoped to inspire in artists.
This watercolor on brown prepared board is vertically oriented. The piece
is reputedly a view of a Parisian street (perhaps in the 8th arrondissement), and the perspective is as if the viewer is on the fourth floor of an adjacent
building. The upper two-thirds of the piece show a building-lined street,
curving gently to the left. The buildings are about six stories tall, and
additional rooftops are barely visible in the distance. On the ground
floor of the buildings, there are traces of people, shops, and cafés. In
the bottom third of the work, the road dissolves, but forms suggesting a
few people populate the space.
This work was painted around the time Whistler turned 50. The artist had just lived in Venice for a year (1879-80) and was now living in London. Rue Laffitte is in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, between the Boulevard des Italiens and the Rue de Provence. Whistler created over 1700 watercolors in his lifetime. He painted thinly, leaving areas blank to suggest light or texture. He outlined a subject in pencil or brush, and then added washes quickly with small brushes, altering, but rarely rubbing out.
Two horses, seen from behind, stand in front of a shed-like structure. On the threshold and partly shadowed to the left stand two figures, a man in an apron and an youth holding a bucket upside down. On the right, closer to the viewer is a whetstone; on the far left of the composition is a rain barrel.
Whistler executed a number of works at the blacksmith operated by the Govier family in Lime Regis. These are portraits and portrayals of the family at work in the smithy.
Thomas Way printed 3000 impressions of "The Smith's Yard" that were issued in "The Studio" 47, no. 10 (Feb. 15, 1897) and in "The International Studio" 1, no. 1 (March 1897); UMMA's impression has The Studio's blindstamp at the bottom.
A view of a city along the edge of water sweeps from the foreground towards the right in the distance. Along quays, bridges and promenades can be seen groupoings of people walking and in conversation. Boats populate the water's edge: smaller boats in the foreground, larger multi-masted ships in the distance.
When Whistler first arrived in Venice, he took rooms in the Palazzo Rezzonico on the Grand Canal. Those rooms proved too expensive and after Otto Henry Bacher and Frank Duveneck arrived in Venice Whistler and Maud moved to rooms near San Biagio at the Casa Jankovitz, just off the Riva degli Schiavoni. Seen in reverse, this view looks up the Riva towards St. Marks, the domes and campanile tower of which are visible at the far right.
Seen from a distance with an expanse of water in the foreground, a city can be seen along the horizon line wtih towers, domes and sailing ships. Poles marking the channel stike out of the water and gondolas can be seen in the middle ground.
Whistler rarely showed Venice in ways that would be familiar to travelers to the city. He did not focus on the principal tourist views that would include the Grand Canal and St. Mark's cathedral. This view of the panoramal of the city is shown from a distance so that the individual monuments are not immediately recognizable.
An expansive riverscape moves across the middle of the image, from left to right. On the near bank are pilings and a retaining wall while on the opposite bank are factories and other buildings. In the foreground, two men stand on the embankment near the waterline; another man stands at the back of a boat or barge in the lower left corner.
The view Whistler has chosen is of Millbank in London and the asymetrical composition shows Whistler's debt to Japanese art. The inscription indicates that this image was used to advertise the first public showing of the "Thames Set" in 1861.
Five children (some only partially rendered) stand before a covered passageway of a building with the lower part of a second story window visible. Through the passageway in the midle distance can be seen a street corner with a woman on the sidewalk, and beyond that additional shops with men on the sidewalk. At the upper right is a flower-like form that is the artist's "butterfly" signature.
Included in the "Second Venice Set", although a view of London, this image continues the theme explored in Whistler's Venetian etchings (executed 1879-80): playing with the notion of multiple views framed by doors, passages, etc. In many ways, this work is an extension of "The Beggars", an etching done in Venice showing figures situated before, in, and through the framing device of a covered passageway.