Home > The Catalogue > Browse > Subjects > Etchings > Etching

San Giorgio

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 214
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 211 x 308 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left (5)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Second Venice Set', 1886
No. of States: 5
Known impressions: 38
Catalogues: K.201; M.198; W.167
Impressions taken from this plate  (38)


belltower, boat, canal, church, gondola, lagoon, man, panorama, port, quay, sailors, sailing ship, sea, shipping, steamboat.


Only one main title is known, with one variation, as in the following examples:

'San Giorgio' (1882, Whistler). 1
'San Giorgio' (1883, FAS). 2
'San Giorgio' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 3
'Woodbarges' (1908, Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909)). 4

Bacher's desriptive title is interesting in that he knew the site, but clearly 'San Giorgio' was Whistler's original title and was accepted by later cataloguers.

1: Whistler to T. McLean, 28 August 1882, GUW #13643.

2: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 10).

3: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 167).

4: Bacher 1908[more], pp. 198-199.


In the foreground at right is a quayside with two boats moored to a cluster of posts, and a man in a small boat beside them. Astern there is another man in a boat; an empty boat lies alongside the quay in front. In the lagoon beyond are numerous two-masted sailing boats. In the distance is a panoramic view of Venice. Behind a long white steamer rise the fašade, dome and campanile of the church of San Giorgio.


According to Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909), 'The etching, Wood Barges, was made on the Giudecca Canal, looking toward the San Giorgio, where these boats were always moored, waiting for prospective purchasers.' 5 It shows the church and island of San Giorgio, Venice, Italy. 6 This view, drawn accurately on the copper plate, is reversed, as usual, in the print.

5: Bacher 1908[more], pp. 198-199.

6: Grieve 2000[more], pp. 80, 192.