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Bridge, Amsterdam

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 447
Date: 1889
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 165 x 241 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 5
Known impressions: 13
Catalogues: K.409; M.409; W.267
Impressions taken from this plate  (13)


bridge, building, canal, children, people, scaffolding.


There are very few variations on the title, as follows:

'Bridge Amsterdam' (1890/1891, Whistler). 1
'Bridge, Amsterdam' (1899, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 2
'The Bridge. Amsterdam' (1903/1935, possibly Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958)). 3

'Bridge, Amsterdam' - with punctuation - is the preferred title.

1: List, [1890/1891], GUW #13236.

2: Wedmore 1899 (cat. no. 267).

3: Envelope containing copper plate, University of Glasgow.


A bridge with an iron railing, supported on two piers, spans a wide canal. Several men and women are standing on the bridge at left and a couple faintly indicated at right. Beyond, at the left is a row of five-storey houses. The windows have open shutters, and there are dormer windows in the sloping roofs. At the right are other buildings of various heights. In the distance, another bridge spans the canal at right, and a row of gabled houses and a tall frame for telegraph wires are seen. The scene is reflected in the canal.


The Boltensgrachtje, in the city of Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands. The buildings, which were drawn by L. W. R. Wenckebach (1860-1937) ten years later, were demolished about 1930. The canal ran roughly parallel to the tunnel under the Ij. 4

4: Heijbroek 1997, p. 63.


A series of bridge subjects by Whistler etched over thirty years includes Old Westminster Bridge [47], Isle de la Cité, Paris [63], Vauxhall Bridge [75], Old Hungerford Bridge [76], Chelsea Bridge and Church [102], London Bridge [172], Under Old Battersea Bridge [168], Old Battersea Bridge [188], Old Putney Bridge [185], Little Putney Bridge [186], Gondola under a Bridge [227], Charing Cross Bridge [348], Old Battersea Bridge, No. 2 [275], and Little Drawbridge, Amsterdam [448].

The composition of Bridge, Amsterdam reflects the influence of Japanese printmakers such as Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858) and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) on Whistler's work. Possible influences on the composition include Hiroshige's Ryogoku hanabi (Fireworks at Ryoguko Bridge) from the series Edo Meisho (1847/1852) 5 and Hokusai's Temma Bridge, Osaka (1827/1830) 6 and Fukagawa Mannen-bashi no shita (Under Mannen Bridge at Fukagawa, Edo) from the series Fugaku sanju-rokkei (36 Views of Mount Fuji) (1830/1833). 7

5: British Museum 1924.0311,0.3. in

6: Victoria & Albert Museum 76.151.6.

7: BM 1937.0710.0.131; Clark, Timothy, 100 Views of Mount Fuji, London, BMP, 2001.