A nighttime view of canals in Venice. Walls of buildings at rough right angles to one another, connected by a footbridge in the distance, are lit to reveal massings of the architecture--balconies, doorways, windows. There are not people apparent; the sky and water are both very dark.
Whistler experimented with artistic printing with his etchings of Venice, retaining films of ink that create an atmospheric effect. In this plate, these films of ink are used to evoke the dark, humid environment of Venice, seen principally in the regions of the sky and water. Plates like "Nocturne: Palaces" were printed so that the amount of ink retained varied, creating very different atmospheric effects.
On the plate, l. center: Butterfly monogram Signed, in pencil, on tab: Butterfly monogram and imp. Collector's mark: H S T H.S. Theobald (not in Lugt in this form, in pencil) Collection (no mark): C.W. Dowdeswell
Viewed at night from the water, a man works deep inside an interior that is brightly lit from an unseen light source. Surrounding the threshold are dark lines indicating the shadowy exterior space. To the left of the doorway is a window that is partly open to reveal a figure standing facing outward towards the viewer.
"Nocturne: Furnace" brings together in one image several of the recurring themes in Whistler's art: the nocturne itself; images of men working at forges or furnaces (in this instance perhaps a glass-blower); scenes viewed through or framed by doorways. Here, plate tone evokes the gloom of the dark canals at night and the figure of the man working at the furnace continues Whistler's interest in Dutch interiors and in images of working men.
This image shows structures and their reflections in the water, drawn largely through clusters of vertical lines. To the right in the distance are the masts of ships; at the right center is a small boat. More sketchily rendered are buildings or perhaps piers at the left of the image.
This is one of Whistler's most evocative and atmospheric etchings. Because it is also one of the most abstract, it was not included in either of the Venice sets. The church of Santa Maria della Salute and the Dogana (or customs house) are depicted enveloped in atmospheric mist or fog. A lone gondola is seen at the right side of the image.
This impression is one of a handful that Margaret Watson Parker acquired from the sale in 1906 of some of the Whistlers in the collection of Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.
On the stone, l.r.: Butterfly monogram Signed, in pencil, on the mount: Whistler [Whistler's hand?] Collector's mark: T.R.W. (in rectangle) Thomas Robert Way. Lugt 246 On the sheet, in pencil, in T. R. Way's hand, l.r.: nocturne no. 5 On verso, in pencil, u.l.: Way
Set at night, a man in a lighter or small boat is seen in the foreground; in the distance stands the silhouettes of various buildings, including smokestacks, a clock tower, and a church spire, all of which are reflected in the water's surface, as well as reflections of lights and smoke.
This scene along the Thames shows industrial Battersea just opposite Whsitler's own home in the Chelsea region of London. Along the far bank were (reading left to right--although the objects are reversed by the printing process) the spire of St. Mary's church, the slag heap and smoke stacks of the Morgan Company, including the company's office tower known as "Mr. Ted Morgan's Folly."
The Nocturne was Whistler's signature creation and embodied many of Whistler's principal theories about art, including the translation of the everyday into the poetic and beautiful through the artist's creative process. Many of his Nocturnes began from drawings and sketches done from memory. Whistler's "Ten O'Clock" lecture provides a description that perfectly captures the intention and effect of his nocturnes, such as this:
"And when the evening mist clothes the riverside with poetry, as with a veil, and the poor buildings lose themselves in the dim sky, and the tall chimneys become campanili, and the warehouses are palaces in the night, and the whole city hangs in the heavens, and fairy-land is before us—then the wayfarer hastens home; the working man and the cultured one, the wise man and the one of pleasure, case to understand, as they have ceased to see, and Nature, who, for once, has sung in tune, sings her exquisite song to the artist alone."
This painting depicts a quiet rural scene. A river runs back into space from the foreground into the distance, flanked on either side by green trees along the banks. A twilight sky dominates with salmon and blue hues. Ducks or geese fly just above the trees at right.
Daubigny was a skilled "plein air" painter who created luminous and quiet views of the French countryside and showed regularly in the official juried Salon exhibitions in Paris. This rural river scene has the direct observation and freely applied paint typical of Barbizon paintings. Daubigny constructed a studio-boat from which he could paint views along the Seine and other waterways in France.