The Traghetto, No. 2
|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||243 x 307 mm|
|Signed:||butterfly at lower left (1-3); replaced with a butterfly further up (4-final)|
|Set/Publication:||'First Venice Set', 1880|
|No. of States:||9|
|Catalogues:||K.191; M.188; W.156|
|Impressions taken from this plate (60)|
The 'First Venice Set' was widely exhibited. In 1881 impressions of this etching were shown at the Nationgalerie, Berlin () and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and, lent by Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), at the Union League Club in New York (). 25
It appeared again at the F.A.S. in 1883 and 1892, as well as at the reprise of the 1883 show by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York. 26 In the F.A.S. catalogue in 1883, Whistler reproduced two short quotations from earlier reviews of his work, to complement The Traghetto, No. 2:
23: London FAS 1880 (cat. no. 11); see EXHIBITION REFERENCES.
24: 'Mr. Whistler's Etchings,' The Globe, London, 3 December 1880 (PC4/15).
25: New York 1881 (cat. nos. 156-167).
26: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 37).
"Mr. Whistler's figure drawings, generally defective and always incomplete."
'"Sometimes generally always."'
The artist's choice of reviews was probably intended to emphasize the importance of the subtly textured shadows in the arched passageway, and the vigorous characterisation of the figures. Critics responded with conflicting reviews : the Daily News thought that it 'will be, or should be, admired' but the Saturday Review considered it 'phantom-like and weird'. 27 Bazaar expressed mixed views:
27: 'Mr Whistler's Etchings', Daily News, 20 February 1883; 'Mr Whistler's Exhibition', Saturday Review, 24 February 1883 (GUL PC 25/20, 32).
28: 'Fine Art. Mr. Whistler's Exhibition,' Bazaar, 28 February 1883 (GUL PC6/44).
Several print dealers exhibited the etching. H. Wunderlich & Co. exhibited impressions in 1898 and 1903, as did Obach & Co. in London in 1903 and F. Keppel & Co. in New York in 1904.
29: Chicago 1893 (cat. no. 2238).
30: Liverpool 1893 (cat. nos. 1-3).
31: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 137a).
32: Philadelphia 1902 (cat. no. 947).
33: New York 1904a (cat. no. 158); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 124); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 156 or 368).
SALES & COLLECTORS
An early collector was Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891), and after his death, a 'trial proof' was sold at auction at Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 245) to Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) of Deprez & Gutekunst for £4.4.0; it probably went from him to Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (1845?-1924), and to H. Wunderlich & Co. in 1903 (). At the same sale one described as the 'finished plate' was bought by Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) for £5.5.0 (lot 246).
34: Inventory books, Kupferstichkabinett Berlin.
35: [February/August 1892], GUW #02968.
Five years later, in 1898, Whistler sold an impression to H. Wunderlich & Co. of New York for £12.12.0. 38 This may have been bought from Wunderlich's by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (). Wunderlich's sold another in 1899 (). They sold yet another to Tracy Dows (1871-1937) () and possibly one to Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), who certainly had it by 1900 (). Freer also bought one from Thomas Way (1837-1915) in 1905 () and a cancelled impression from F. Keppel & Co. in 1902 ().
Finally Whistler sold an impression on 24 December 1902 to the London print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for the comparatively high price of £31.10.0. 39