Salute Dawn

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 207
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 127 x 204 mm
Signed: butterfly at left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Second Venice Set', 1886
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 32
Catalogues: K.215; M.212; W.185
Impressions taken from this plate  (32)


Salute Dawn 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.

Whistler delivered in all 1093 prints and was paid £2.10.6 for printing each dozen prints. 13

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


Salute Dawn was first exhibited by the London art dealers, the Fine Art Society, in 1883, before being published in the 'Second Venice Set' by Messrs Dowdeswell and Thibaudeau in 1886. In the catalogue designed by Whistler for the 1883 show he added short excerpts from earlier reviews that provided ironical contrasts or complements to the prints on show. To the catalogue entry for this, one of his most subtle and atmospheric etchings, Salute Dawn, he added two such short excerpts:
' "Too sensational." - Athenaeum.
"Pushing a single artistic principle to the verge of affectation." - Sidney Colvin.' 14

14: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 49).

Sidney Colvin (1845-1927) was then Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge, and contributed to various journals including the Fortnightly Review and Portfolio. The first excerpt comes from an 1881 review of Whistler's Venice pastels, which was on the whole complimentary. The relevant passage reads, in full:
'In the gallery of the Fine-Art Society, New Bond Street, may be seen a considerable number of drawings in pastels from views in Venice. Many of them are charmingly tender in colour and rich in tone, while some are rather too sensational.' 15

15: 'MR. WHISTLER'S PASTELS', The Athenaeum, 5 February 1881 (GUL PC15/27).

Perhaps because it was one of the last items in the 1883 catalogue, it was not discussed by critics, who probably started at No. 1 and were flagging by No. 49. A dismissive comment in Bazaar read only 'nocturnes of Shipping, Dawn, Furnace, or Salute, are something more than disappointing.' 16

16: 'Fine Art', Mr Whistler's Exhibition', Bazaar, 28 February 1883 (GUL PC6/43).

Later print dealers' shows included H. Wunderlich & Co., New York in 1883, 1898, and twice in 1903; F. Keppel & Co., New York, in 1902 and Obach & Co., London, in 1903. 17 One 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 #K2150402). 18 Another impression was shown at the International Exhibition in Glasgow in 1901, lent by James Cox-Cox (ca 1849- d.1901). 19

After Whistler's death, impressions were exhibited at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and in the Memorial Exhibitions in Boston (lent by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)) in 1904, and in London and Paris in 1905. 20


18: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 165).

19: Glasgow 1901 (cat. no. 219).

20: New York 1904a (cat. no. 187); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 145); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 185).


Whistler sold an impression of Salute Dawn on 28 August 1882 to the London print dealer, Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832), for £4.4.0. 21 Most impressions were sold by the publishers, Messrs Dowdeswell and Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892), who also gave a set to the British Museum in 1887 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150406). In the following year Thibaudeau sold a set to H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, who in turn sold it to Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) in 1890 including an impression of Salute Dawn (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150409).

21: GUW #13643.

At auction it fetched low prices and was mostly bought by print dealers. One was sold at Christie’s, in London, 27 November 1888 (lot 184) to Obach & Co., for £1.6.0. Another, from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891), was bought at Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 280) by the London print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for £1.18.0.
Early collectors included Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), who bought one from F. Keppel & Co. in 1887 - it was among his earliest purchases - (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150403); Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150416); George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150404, Graphic with a link to impression #K2150405); Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), by 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150402); Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150408); Atherton Curtis (1863-1944) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150z02); Herschel V. Jones (1861-1928) (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150z06); and Walter Stanton Brewster (1872-1954), who acquired two cancelled impressions (Graphic with a link to impression #K2150503, Graphic with a link to impression #K2150501).