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The Riva

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 229
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 202 x 298 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'First Venice Set', 1880
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 55
Catalogues: K.192; M.189; W.157
Impressions taken from this plate  (55)


building, bridge, canal, cathedral, clocktower, fishing boats, gondola, palace, panorama, people, quay, sailing ship, sea.


There are several minor variations in the title, as follows:

'The Riva' (1880, F.A.S.). 2
'Riva' (1883, F.A.S.). 3
'The Riva' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 4
'The Rival' (1900, Punch, Melbourne). 5
'The Riva. No. 1' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 6
'The Riva' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 7

'The Riva' is the original and generally accepted title. A similar view is entitled Riva, No. 2 230. However, the Australian variant, 'The Rival', is distinctly appealing!

2: Fine Art Society, [1 December 1880], GUW #12667.

3: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 30).

4: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 157).

5: Punch, East Melbourne, 14 June 1900.

6: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 189).

7: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 192).


The broad quayside of the Riva degli Schiavoni, in the foreground, curves along the water's edge to a bridge with a high arch over a canal. On the far side of the bridge is a large two-storey building, and beyond is a line of buildings following the curve of the embankment and ending with the Campanile and domes of San Marco, at upper right. Nearby, at right, boats are moored by the quayside, some with nets hung up to dry. Out in the bay are gondolas, and in the distance are a number of sailing ships, some with sails partly furled. There are people and groups of figures, walking or standing, on the quay and the bridge, and men in the boats.


Etching: c_K192_01
The Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, Italy, seen from the Casa Jankowitz, with the dome of San Marco at the extreme right. It is in reverse, as usual, in the print. A similar view is seen in Riva, No. 2 230. 8

Frank Duveneck (1848-1919) etched the same view from further along the Riva, The Riva looking towards the Grand Ducal Palace, which was very similar indeed to Whistler's etching. 9

8: Grieve 2000[more], pp. 32, 107, 109, 189, fig. 124.

9: Emily Poole, 'The Etchings of Frank Duveneck,' The Print Collector’s Quarterly, October 1938, Vol. 25, Nos. 3-4 (cat. no. 13).