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The Palaces

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 223
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching, drypoint and open bite
Size: 252 x 358 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left (4-5); removed (6)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'First Venice Set', 1880
No. of States: 6
Known impressions: 56
Catalogues: K.187; M.184; W.153
Impressions taken from this plate  (56)


Six states are known before cancellation.

State 1

Impression: K1870002
There is no signature or inscription.

State 2

Impression: K1870308
Three gondolas are added to left of the central doorway; the central doorway, and the walls on either side of it, are completed; the interior of the doorway is shaded, darker at the top, with two figures partly delineated; two gondolas with gondoliers are lightly drawn at far right; windows, ornament and shading on the façades of the palace at right and buildings to right of it have been strengthened through rebiting, which has resulted in granular foul biting over that area of the plate; more shading, mostly indicating reflections, is added to the water in the foreground.

State 3

Impression: K1870101
The interior of the central doorway is heavily shaded, but the two figures within it are no longer clearly discernible.

State 4

Impression: K1870206
Signed with a butterfly at upper left.
The butterfly signature, added in drypoint, is lightly shaded behind the wings with slight left to right (\\\) diagonal parallel lines; two figures are visible in the central doorway; five series of short broken lines are added to the water beneath the rightmost gondolas; a small man with a hat, and a ledge beneath him, are added at far left of the left palace, between the gondolas.

State 5

Impression: K1870223
The butterfly signature has cross-hatched shading behind the wings; the upper tips of the wings and antennae are more clearly defined.
On the earliest impressions of this state, scraping marks are distinct near the four corners and at the top edge, the fine lines on the water at lower left and right print clearly, and granular foul biting over the right palace and buildings is strong, as reproduced below.
Impression: K1870221
On later impressions, the scraping marks and fine lines become faint and the scraping marks eventually disappear; the foul biting wears down and those areas become lighter, as in the impression reproduced below:
Impression: K1870204

Printed in this and the following state for the 'First Venice Set'.

State 6

Impression: K1870316
There is no signature or inscription.
The butterfly signature is removed; new areas of greyish tone are added on the wall above and the water below the shaded gondolas at left, on the roofs of the central and right palace, on the sky above the top storey and just below the roof of the central palace, on the edge of the left wall of the right palace and on the wall and roof of the building at far right.
Some impressions show wear and, possibly, retouching of the fine drypoint shading in the two dark, shaded doorways, as in the impression reproduced below.
Impression: K1870302

State 6 (cancelled)

Impression: K1870401
Cancelled with a butterfly with a long, undulating tail ending in a 'sting.'