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Pickle Herring Wharf

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 164
Date: 1876/1877
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 152 x 229 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Cancelled Plates', 1879
No. of States: 8
Known impressions: 30
Catalogues: K.167; M.163; W.137
Impressions taken from this plate  (30)


It was published in an album of Cancelled Plates ('Cancelled Set') by The Fine Art Society, London, 1879.


Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) lent his touched proof to an exhibition at the Union League Club in New York in 1881 with the title 'Pickle-Herring Stairs' () 14 Another impression, lent by Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), was shown in an exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900 (). 15 Other impressions were exhibited and for sale by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 (from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910)) and 1903. One was bought from Wunderlich's by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) - who already had two earlier states - in 1898 (). 16

Impressions were shown in the Memorial Exhibitions after Whistler's death, at the Grolier Club in New York, for instance, in 1904, and in the Copley Society show in Boston that same year. An impression was also shown at the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905, lent from the Royal Collection (). 17

14: New York 1881 (cat. no. 147). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

15: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 121).

16: New York 1898 (cat. no. 116); New York 1903b (cat. no. 101).

17: New York 1904a (cat. no. 139); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 104); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 137).


Whistler sold several impressions in 1877, including one to the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle for 4.4.0. 18 This was exhibited in 1905 at the Whistler Memorial show and sold soon afterwards through Agnew's in London to Wunderlich's in New York, and by them for $300 to Clarence Buckingham (1855-1913), before passing eventually to the Art Institute of Chicago (). 19

Whistler targetted art dealers, and actually gave a fine atmospheric impression to the Glasgow art dealer William Craibe Angus (1830-1899) (). Another was sold by Whistler in 1877 to Messrs Hogarth for 5.5.0; and one to Charles Augustus Howell (1840?-1890), again for 5.5.0; and six to the London print dealers, Colnaghi's at 3.3.0 each. 20

Two impressions from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) sold at auction in 1892, one, a 'trial proof, before much work in the sky and water' went to Edmund F. Deprez (1851-1915) for 6.6.0, and the second, to Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) for 1.15.0. 21

One etching was returned to Whistler for signing in the 1890s, and acquired by Freer (). Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought this in 1891 from H. Wunderlich & Co. () and another (ex-collection Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910)) in 1898 (), and finally one from Thomas Way (1837-1915) in 1905 (). Other early collectors included Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (); Albert W. Scholle (1860-1917) (); Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (); and Margaret Selkirk Watson Parker (1867-1936) ().

18: [19/22 October 1877], GUW #12736.

19: Wunderlich & Co., stockbooks, stock no. 42001.

20: 22-27 October [1877], GUW #12737; 12 October-5 November [1877], #12735; 10 November [1877], #12739.

21: Sotheby’s, 3 March 1892 (lots 219, 220).

Surviving impressions from the cancelled plate are often in the album as published in 1879. For instance, the British Museum bought an album in 1887 (), and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought a set from Knoedler & Co. in 1893 (). Thomas Glen Arthur (1858-1907) also acquired a set in 1887 () which later went to Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Early owners included George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) () whose set eventually went to Baltimore Museum of Art. Boston Public Library also acquired a set (). A set acquired by J. Littauer (fl. 1896), Munich was sold to the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 1896 ().
Prices were low but collectors and collections were keen to have the set of cancelled etchings, as a record of a substantial number of otherwise unrecorded etchings and drypoints. A set, probably acquired from the Fine Art Society by Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca 1840- d.1892), was auctioned in 1889 and bought by Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) for 0.6.0. 22 Dunthorne exchanged it for other works with Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) who bequeathed it to the University of Glasgow (see ).

22: Sotheby's, London, 13 December 1889 (lot 787 or 789).