Upright Venice

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 232
Date: 1879-1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 255 x 180 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left (3-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Second Venice Set', 1886
No. of States: 7
Known impressions: 39
Catalogues: K.205; M.202; W.172
Impressions taken from this plate  (39)


Upright Venice was published by Messrs Dowdeswell and Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892) with A Set of Twenty-six Etchings (the 'Second Venice Set') in 1886.

Dowdeswell paid £2.10.0 for the printing of each dozen prints. Whistler delivered in all 1093 prints for the Second Venice Set 9

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


Upright Venice was first exhibited at the Fine Art Society in London in 1883 and at the reprise of this show by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in the same year. In the F.A.S. exhibition catalogue, designed and written by Whistler, he included quotes chosen from earlier reviews to complement his etchings. In the catalogue Upright Venice was twinned with a short and ironically chosen quotation: 'Little to recommend them save the eccentricity of their titles.' 10

However, in 1883 both Upright Venice and Long Venice [211] were on the whole admired for Whistler's draughtsmanship, his 'skill with the point'. 11 The Saturday Review criticised the figures 'not much more solid or careful' than in Wool Carders [195], and added that 'the water - again a long stretch - is, as compared with other works, poorly and faintly indicated.' 12 On the other hand, John Forbes-Robertson appreciated the effect of the details: 'gondolas darting about in the quiet lagoon, while the city rises stately and grand in the distance.' 13

Print dealers' shows in later years include H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1898 and (twice) in 1903; Obach & Co. in London in 1903 and F. Keppel & Co., New York in 1902 and 1904. 14

Upright Venice was exhibited at a show organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050402). 15 An impression was lent by James Cox-Cox (ca 1849- d.1901) to the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1901, 16 and one was shown at the Art and Industrial Exhibition in Wolverhampton in 1902.

After Whistler's death, two impressions were shown at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and others at the Whistler Memorial Exhibitions: Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) lent his to the Boston show in 1904, and others were exhibited in London (lent from the Royal Collection) and Paris in 1905. 17

10: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 19).

11: Anon., 'Mr. Whistler', Whitehall Review, 22 February 1883 (GUL PC25/35).

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

13: 'Mr. Whistler, His Arrangement in White and Yellow, His Etchings and His Catalogue', Pictorial World, 31 March 1883 (GUL PC 8/8).


15: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 152).

16: Glasgow 1901 (cat. no. 227).

17: New York 1904a (cat. nos. 174a, b); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 137); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 172).


Whistler sold an impression on 8 August 1882 to the London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832), for £3.3.0 and on 28 August 1882 for £5.5.0. 18 He also sold one on 12 September 1882 to Queen Victoria for £5.5.0. 19

Most impressions were sold after 1886 by and through the publishers, Messrs Dowdeswell and Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892). The latter sold a set through H. Wunderlich & Co. to Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) in 1890 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050210).

18: GUW #12990, #13643.

19: GUW #13072.

Early collectors included Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050103, Graphic with a link to impression #K2050208), Henry Studdy Theobald (1847-1934) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050102) and Thomas Way (1837-1915) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050204). The latter was sold to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1905. Freer had also bought an impression from F. Keppel & Co. in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050203).

At auction at Christie’s, 27 November 1888 (lot 171) one was bought by Obach & Co. for £2.18.0. An impression was sold at auction from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) in 1892 and bought by the London print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for £5.10.0. 20 The complete set 'Venice, Second Series' 'in a folio' owned by Mrs Edward Fisher of Abbotsbury, Newton Abbot, was sold in 1897 and bought by Colnaghi's for £82.0.0. 21

20: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 267).

21: Christie’s, 13-14 July 1897 (lot 316).

The artist sold an impression on 10 April 1893 to H. Wunderlich & Co. of New York for a rather low price, £4.4.0. 22 He also sold an impression on 18 April 1893 to the Fine Art Society at that lower price, £4.4.0. 23

Whistler selected a strong impression in black ink for a friend, Mrs. H. Roosevelt, who had been introduced by Ross Revillon Winans (1850-1912) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050202). This was acquired by Mrs Herbert F. Perkins (dates unknown) and given to the Art Institute of Chicago. Deman W. Ross (1852-1935) gave an impression to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1903 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050403).

Mansfield in 1909 mentioned his state 2 as being in the 'Benedict, Mansfield, and Vanderbilt Collections.' 24 Apart from Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935) and George Washington Vanderbilt (1862-1914), other American collectors included Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050401); George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050206, Graphic with a link to impression #K2050207); Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050402); Alfred Atmore Pope (1842-1913) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050304) and Albert W. Scholle (1860-1917) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2050z04).

22: Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932) to Whistler, 10 April 1893, GUW #07214.

23: GUW #01259.

24: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 202).