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Church, Amsterdam

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 445
Date: 1889
Medium: etching
Size: 220 x 131 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 4
Catalogues: K.411; M.410
Impressions taken from this plate  (4)


architecture, bridge, building, canal, church, cock, people, sculpture, steeple.


Minor variations on the title are as follows:

'Church Amsterdam' (1890/1891, Whistler). 1
'Church, Amsterdam' (1902, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 2
'The Church [Amsterdam]' (1890/1892, Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896)). 3
'The Church, Amsterdam' (1909, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)). 4

'Church, Amsterdam' is the preferred title, including the punctuation omitted in Whistler's original title.

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

2: Kennedy 1902[more] (cat. no. 355).

3: List, [1890/1892], GUW #12715.

4: Mansfield 1909[more] (cat. no. 410).


A view over a broad stretch of water to a low bridge leading into a narrow canal. To left of the canal, leading into the distance, is a row of buildings from two to five stories high, and above them, just to left of centre, rise the piers, ornamental sculpture and lanterns of a church steeple, surmounted by a weather-cock. On the bridge and in front of the nearest building at left are several figures. The scene is reflected in the water.


A view from the Zwanenburgwal, showing buildings along the Raamgracht, with the spire of the Zuiderkerk. The view was near Bracks Doelen Hotel where Whistler and his wife stayed while in the city of Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands. 5 The spire is also seen in Little Drawbridge, Amsterdam 448. The scene and composition are similar to the larger plate, Bridge, Amsterdam 447.

5: Heijbroek 1997[more], pp. 63, 65, figs. 76, 77.


Fine commented on the composition: 'In its elaborate attention to architectural detail, particularly concentrated in a vertical central space, it is reminiscent of Palaces, Brussels. ... Spatially it ... is the least intimate of the dozen Amsterdam plates.' 6

6: Ruth Fine, Los Angeles 1984 (cat. no. 86).