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

The Steamboat, Venice

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 212
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 264 x 185 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 4
Catalogues: K.228; M.225
Impressions taken from this plate  (4)


boat, fishing boats, gondola, lagoon, panorama, quay, church, people, ship, steamboat.


Whistler's original title is not known. Variations on the title are as follows:

'The Steamboat, Venice' (1904, Grolier Club). 1
'The Little Salute' (1906, Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909)). 2
'The Steamboat, Venice' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 3

The Grolier title, 'The Steamboat, Venice' used by later cataloguers is preferred.

1: New York 1904a (cat. no. 205).

2: Bacher 1908[more].

3: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 225).


In the foreground is a quay, alongside which is a man in a gondola. Off-shore, at left, is a side-wheel paddle steamer, and in the centre, a two-masted fishing-boat. Farther away are gondolas and fishing boats under sail, and at far right, a small two-masted boat. In the distance are buildings along the riva, above which rise the domes of Santa Maria della Salute, under a cloudy sky.


The Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, Italy. Whistler moved into the Casa Jankowitz on the Riva San Biagio, which is now the Pensione Bucintoro at No. 2135 Castello. There he joined several American art students, followers of Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), including Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909) and Robert Frederick Blum (1857-1903). His room looked across the lagoon to left, and the Riva degli Schiavoni to right. Immediately in front was the Campo San Biagio. The Steamboat, Venice, shows a paddle-steamer setting off from the Riva towards the Lido. In the distance is the Giudecca Canal, and the domes of Santa Maria della Salute, all reversed in the print. 4 A similar view is seen in Upright Venice 232.

4: Grieve 2000[more], p.123.