Fruit Stall

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 225
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 227 x 151 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Second Venice Set', 1886
No. of States: 21
Known impressions: 47
Catalogues: K.200; M.197; W.166
Impressions taken from this plate  (47)


awning, boat, canal, children, city, fruit, gondola, man standing, people, shop. stall, woman.


The only variations in title were in the punctuation, as in the following examples:

'Fruit Stall' (1883, F.A.S.) 1
'Fruit Stall' (1886, Dowdeswell's). 2
'Fruit-stall' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 3

The title as exhibited and published was 'Fruit Stall' and most later cataloguers used this form of the title.

1: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 9).

2: A Set of Twenty-six Etchings, [28/31 July 1886], GUW #00862.

3: Wedmore 1886 A (cat. no. 166).


In the foreground is a canal with, on the right, the stern and prow of two boats. The fruit stall is on a narrow pavement directly across the canal in front of a house. Above the door of the house is an iron grid; in the centre is a window, a little higher than the door, and to its left is another window, level with the grid. Two women are sitting in the centre under an awning, in front of a table. To their right is a box or stand for goods. A woman with a baby stands in front and to left of the stall, and another women to right, looking to her right where there is another table with goods displayed. A figure stands behind her, in front of a doorway.
For a description of later variations, see STATES.


Although the site has not been precisely identified, it was probably drawn in the working class area of Venice near the Via Garibaldi, and close to where Whistler stayed in the summer and autumn of 1880.


Like Turkeys [236], the etching shows local Venetians going about their daily work. This is the earliest of five fruit shops etched by Whistler. Little Greengrocer's Shop, Chelsea [264]; T. A. Nash's Greengrocer's Shop [298] and J.H. Woods' Fruit Shop, Chelsea [327] were etched in London about 1887 (that is, shortly after Whistler had completed printing the Venetian Fruit-Stall for Dowdeswell's; a few years later, he etched Greengrocer's Shop, Paris [471]. He also painted two oils, Pink and Grey: Fruiterer, Fulham [y342], which was exhibited at Dowdeswell's in 1886, and The Greengrocer's Shop, Paris [y372]; two vivid watercolours, Terrey's Fruit Shop, Chelsea [m1002] and Flower market: Dieppe [m1026] as well as drawing one pastel, Chelsea fruit shop [m1117]. The format he usually adopted is that seen in Fruit-Stall, and shows the shop, or stall, seen directly opposite the artist (and viewer) and drawn parallel to the edges of the plate.
In different states of Fruit Stall, Whistler rearranged the figures, altering the relationship between the figures and the enveloping lights and shadows. As with Bead Stringers [235] there were considerable alterations to the figures in numerous preliminary states before the main edition was printed.