Doorway and Vine

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 191
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 233 x 170 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Second Venice Set', 1886
No. of States: 18
Known impressions: 45
Catalogues: K.196; M.193; W.161
Impressions taken from this plate  (45)


It was published by Messrs Dowdeswell and Thibaudeau with the Twenty-six Etchings or the 'Second Venice Set' in 1886; Whistler delivered in all 1093 prints and was paid £2.10.6 for printing each dozen prints. 12

12: Dowdeswell to Whistler, invoice, 16 July 1887, GUW #00891.


It was first exhibited at the Fine Art Society in 1883 and at the reprise of the show by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in the same year. In the F.A.S. exhibition catalogue it was twinned by Whistler with an earlier review from the Daily Telegraph, 'He must not attempt to palm off his deficiencies upon us as manifestations of power.' 13

13: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 2).

Comparing it with Murano - Glass Furnace [205] the Saturday Review commented:
'[Murano - Glass Furnace] is so sketchy, so undefined, so wild, that even with the help of the printed title it is difficult to make out what Mr Whistler would be at. It might be a representation of almost anything, surely of anything rather than what it professes to be. Something, but much less, of this undefined quality there is in the second etching, "Doorway and Vine," which is in many ways a beautiful piece of work, but in which the figures (are they figures?) are as impalpable as those spectral forms which Mr. Listless scoffed at in Nightmare Abbey.' 14

14: Anon., 'Mr Whistler's Exhibition', Saturday Review, 24 February 1883 (GUL PC 25/32).

It was shown in several print dealers' exhibitions including Wunderlich's in 1883, 1898 and twice in 1903, Grosvenor Thomas & Paterson in Glasgow in 1892, Obach & Co. in London, also in 1903, and by Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. in New York in 1902 and 1904. 15

An impression, lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), was shown in an exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960902). 16 In the same year, an impression was shown in East Melbourne by Messrs Robertson & Moffatt. 17 Other impressions were shown at an International Exhibition in Glasgow in 1901 and, after Whistler's death, at the Whistler Memorial Exhibitions, at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904 and in London (lent from the Royal Collection) in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960201). 18


16: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 142).

17: Punch, East Melbourne, 14 June 1900.

18: London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 161).


Whistler sold an impression on 12 September 1882 to H.M. The Queen for £5.5.0. This was sold through Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, to H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, in 1906 (stock no. 42019) but has not been located (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960201). 19

19: GUW #13072.

From 1886, of course, it was being sold by Messrs Dowdeswell and Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892) with the 'Second Venice Set'. Dowdeswell's gave a set including a late impression of Doorway and Vine to the British Museum in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960702). Thibaudeau sold a set for £52.10.0 through Gustave Lauser (b. ca 1841) to H. Wunderlich & Co. in May 1888, and it was bought by Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) in 1890 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960505). Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought one from Frederick Keppel & Co. in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960502) and another in 1902 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960302).
Whistler occasionally sold proofs of new states of this etching. He sold one such impression to the London print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) on 24 December 1902 for £6.6.0. 20 Arthur Haythorne Studd (1863-1919) acquired an impression - possibly from Whistler - which he bequeathed to the British Museum (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960509).

20: GUW #13040.

One sold at auction at Christie’s, in London, on 27 November 1888 (lot 160) was bought by the print dealer Gustave Lauser (b. ca 1841) for only £0.10.0. A few years later, one from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) sold at Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 256) and was bought by 'Blunt' for £1.10.0. By contrast, a complete set 'in a folio', owned by Mrs Edward Fisher of Abbotsbury, Newton Abbot, sold at Christie’s, 13-14 July 1897 (lot 316) to Colnaghi's for £82.0.0.
Early collectors, mostly American, included George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960503, Graphic with a link to impression #K1960606); Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960508); Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960z02); Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960604); W. B. Dickerman (1846-1923) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960z09); Albert W. Scholle (1860-1917) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960z09); Margaret Selkirk Watson Parker (1867-1936) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960904); and Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1960902).