The Tow-Path

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 325
Date: 1887
Medium: etching
Size: 50 x 84 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.254; M.250
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


The Tow-Path was not published.


It was very rare and very small and was rarely exhibited. One impression was shown by the print dealers H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898. 12

Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) had already bought an impression from Wunderlich's, and he lent it to the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2540102). 13

After Whistler's death an impression - possibly Freer's - was shown in the comprehensive Grolier Club show in New York in 1904. 14

12: New York 1898 (cat. no. 261).

13: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 251).

14: New York 1904a (cat. no. 217).


Whistler sold a 'Towing Path' to H. Wunderlich & Co., New York, on 6 April 1891 for only £3.3.0. 15 This was sold by them to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) on 15 August 1891 (Graphic with a link to impression #K2540102). Whistler also sold another impression of 'Tow path' on 18 April 1893 to the Fine Art Society, London art dealers, for £2.2.0. 16 Wunderlich's also recorded '1 Towing Path', possibly bought from Whistler in 1897, priced at slightly less, presumably after their discount, £2.2.0. 17

Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) owned an impression by 1909, but it is not certain where he acquired it nor where it is now. 18 The only other known impression was later acquired by Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971), who gave it to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. (Graphic with a link to impression #K2540107).

15: [August 1897], GUW #07289.

16: E. G. Brown to Whistler, GUW #01259.

17: GUW #13097.

18: Mansfield 1909 (cat. no. 250).