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Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 443
Date: 1889/1890
Medium: etching
Size: 128 x 178 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 3
Catalogues: K.425; M.421
Impressions taken from this plate  (3)
Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens probably dates from 1889. The etched butterfly on its shaded trefoil suggests a date after Whistler's marriage to Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896) on 11 August 1888. The pencil butterfly signatures on some impressions show it was printed in the early 1890s.
The scene was clearly etched in late Spring, summer or early autumn, with trees in full leaf and women in summer clothes. Whistler was in Paris frequently and visits are recorded during his honeymoon in August 1888, in late April 1889, possibly in April 1890, in June and September 1891 and more or less permanently from 1892-1894.
The costume of the woman at the right shows the high shoulder shape that was fashionable in 1889, and developed into the 'Leg o'Mutton' sleeves of the 1890s, which figure prominently, for instance, in Whistler's lithographs of his sister-in-law, Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), The Winged Hat [c034] and Gants de suède [c035], both dating from late 1890.
Whistler etched a series of views in the gardens including The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 [444] (also around 1889), Under the Statue, Luxembourg Gardens [464], The Band, Luxembourg Gardens [466], Balustrade, Luxembourg Gardens [465], Bébés, Jardin du Luxembourg [463], The Pantheon from the Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens [473], Polichinelle, Jardin du Luxembourg [467] and Café Luxembourg [436]. He drew comparable scenes in lithography in the Jardin du Luxembourg (The Pantheon, from the terrace of the Luxembourg Gardens [c070] and The Terrace, Luxembourg [c087]) in November 1893 and July 1894.
Comparing these lithographs to the etchings, Lochnan assumed The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 dated from 1893:
'Whistler appears to have been interested initially in comparing the effects which could be obtained in the two media, and made several lithographs and etchings on the same themes in 1893-4. The etching Bébes, Luxembourg Gardens ... may be compared to the lithograph Nursemaids: Les Bonnes du Luxembourg ...; the lithograph The Pantheon from the Terrace of the Luxembourg Gardens ... to the etching Pantheon, Luxembourg Gardens ..., and the lithograph The Terrace, Luxembourg ... to the etching, Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2.' 1

1: Lochnan 1984, pp. 264-265.