The Little Venice
|Size:||185 x 264 mm|
|Signed:||butterfly at lower left|
|Set/Publication:||'First Venice Set', 1880|
|No. of States:||2|
|Catalogues:||K.183; M.180; W.149|
|Impressions taken from this plate (54)|
19: London FAS 1880 (cat. no. 1).
20: 'Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice', Times, London, 25 December 1880, p. 4.
21: 'Mr. Whistler's Venice', St James' Gazette, 9 December 1880 (GUL PC4/16).
22: 'Mr. Whistler's etchings ...', British Architect, 10 December 1880.
23: 'Mr. Whistler's Pastels', The Athenaeum, 5 February 1881, p. 206.
The Little Venice was shown again at the Fine Art Society in 1883, when Whistler embellished his catalogue entry on The Little Venice with excerpts from four earlier reviews including a comment from the St James' Gazette of 9 December 1880 that 'The Little Venice is one of the slightest of the series' and the sentence from the Daily News cited above. He concluded with a statement by Henry Quilter (1851-1907), 'It is not the Venice of a maiden's fancies.' 25 By this selection Whistler was pointing out that The Little Venice actually conveyed both colour and detail effectively, and the panorama exemplified the traveller's image of Venice.
26: 9 December 1880, op. cit.
27: New York 1881 (cat. nos. 156-67).
28: 'Hogarth Club', The Standard, London, 3 March 1887 (GUL PC7/18-19).
The Little Venice was popular - as were other Venetian prints - in public and international exhibitions, and was shown, for instance, in Philadelphia (1881), Berlin (1881 and 1900), Paris (1889) and Chicago (1893). Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) lent to an exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 () and James Cox-Cox (ca 1849- d.1901) to the International in Glasgow in 1901. 30 Another impression went to an art and industrial exhibition at Wolverhampton in 1902. 31
SALES & COLLECTORS
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) was singularly obsessed with this etching. He bought two impressions in 1892, one of which was a first state with a coded note 'P.v.' by Whistler, probably meaning it was selected for inclusion in one of the first exhibitions () and one a cancelled impression (). Then he bought a delicate impression of the second state in 1893 (). He bought another cancelled state in 1894 (). Then he bought two more slightly differently printed first states, one from Wunderlich's in 1898 () and finally another, annotated by Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921) as 'Trial Proof by Whistler from finished plate, a most perfect impression F.W.', from Thomas Way (1837-1915) in 1905 ().
33: E.G. Kennedy to Whistler, 10 April 1893, GUW #07214.
34: F.A.S. to Whistler, 18 April 1893, GUW F191.