Newspaper-Stall, Rue de Seine

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 474
Date: 1893
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 81 x 200 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 2
Known impressions: 13
Catalogues: K.432; M.426
Impressions taken from this plate  (13)


The lively scene was drawn vividly with dots and dashes, jerky lines, zigzag and crosshatched shading, mostly etched, but with some additional drypoint shading. It was not completed - or at least, large areas were burnished out and not redrawn.


Joseph Pennell (1860-1926) helped Whistler to print his etchings in Paris during the summer of 1893:
'... he explained that he wanted J. to help with his printing he was biting and printing the last Paris plates which no one had seen. This was arranged, though only after endless postponements and after J. finally said that he knew Whistler could teach him just what he wanted to know, but he could not afford to spend his time running about Paris, lunching and dining instead, even with Whistler. At once the printing began and the friendship became more intimate and its terms better understood. For weeks in the summer of 1893, either at the printing press in the Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs or at the Rue du Bac, J. was with Whistler almost daily. Work stopped on the Sunday afternoons, when sometimes all the world came to Whistler's ...' 9

9: Pennell 1921C, p. 12.

Three impressions of the first state have been located. Whistler kept one beautiful impression of the first state, which is in black ink on laid paper with a 'Pro Patria' watermark (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320104), and sold one - also on ivory laid paper, and inscribed '2. Proof -' through his brief-lived business venture, the Company of the Butterfly, to Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320103). Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) owned another impression of the first state, this time on Japanese paper (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320101). This was trimmed to the platemark and signed on the tab with a butterfly dating from the 1890s, and 'imp.' to show that he had printed it.
In July 1900, Whistler printed some of his Paris plates, some of which had been poorly grounded and damaged, in London with Francis Short (1857-1945), 'whom he rightly regarded as an eminent technician ... whom he trusted and who had a good press, ... And these prints by Short, as far as we know, are the last that were pulled from Whistler's Paris plates. Short offered to re-ground them, but we do not think that Whistler let him do so.' 10 The printing took place on 13 July 1900, and afterwards Whistler told the Pennells:

10: Ibid., pp. 80-81.

"Well, I pulled nineteen prints. Once I started, all the joy in it came back again, and I got through by lunch time." J. thought he would have been at it all day, and, indeed, when Short did not turn up at the Art Workers' Guild on Friday evening, supposed the printing was still going on. "H'm, h'm," Whistler said, "well, you know, my consideration for others quite equals my own energy."' 11
It is likely that impressions of the second state were printed by Short, or by Short with Whistler's assistance, perhaps inking the plates. One impression has an illegible scrawl - but definitely not a butterfly - on the tab, and this may have originally been the signature of the printer (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320207).
Most impressions of the second state were trimmed to the platemark, with a tab apparently left for the butterfly signature, but none were actually signed by Whistler (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320209, Graphic with a link to impression #K4320203, Graphic with a link to impression #K4320202). They were printed on a wide variety of papers, including ivory wove (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320z03) and some unusual laid papers: off-white medium weight 'antique' (pre-1800) paper from a ledger, with the watermark of a Maltese cross over lettering, possibly 'GRD' (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320z01); cream heavy-weight 'antique' (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320207), off-white 'modern' (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320209), buff (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320202) and light blue laid paper (Graphic with a link to impression #K4320205).