|Medium:||etching, drypoint and roulette|
|Size:||295 x 204 mm|
|Signed:||butterfly at upper left|
|Set/Publication:||'First Venice Set', 1880|
|No. of States:||20|
|Catalogues:||K.188; M.185; W.154|
|Impressions taken from this plate (66)|
26: London FAS 1880 (cat. no. 5).
28: London FAS 1883 (cat. nos. 13, 11).
29: 'Mr. Whistler's Etchings,' The Globe, London, 3 December 1880 (GUL PC4/15).
Other reviews in 1883 vary so much that one wonders if they were talking about the same etching. 'Admirable' said the Daily News: 'but the woman in the foreground is unpleasantly like one of those poor wretches, with faces eaten away by disease, now not uncommon in Italy.' 34 Another critic found it 'remarkable for the care bestowed, and successfully bestowed, upon the figure, which is certainly graceful, and which, unlike some of the figures which are suggestive and striking at a little distance, bears close inspection.' 35 Likewise, The Queen described it as 'good in tone and effect, has the figure of a girl gracefully posed, stooping forward in an archway.' 36 This suggests that the impression exhibited was in an early state, possibly the third state, before radical revisions of the figure.
Apart from being in several shows organised by the Fine Art Society, The Doorway was shown in later exhibitions arranged by print-dealers, particularly by H. Wunderlich & Co. of New York, with whom Whistler had a developing relationship through his friendship with Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932). 37
32: St James' Gazette, London, 9 December 1880, op. cit.
34: Daily News, London, 20 February 1883; MacDonald 2001[more], p. 115.
35: Saturday Review, 24 February 1883.
36: Anon., 'An Arrangement in White and Yellow', The Queen, 24 February 1883 (GUL PC 25/24).
37: New York 1898 (cat. no. 133); see REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.
By the 1890s, there were conflicting demands for a series of exhibitions. Whistler wrote to his wife about a request from Octave Maus (1856-1919) for etchings for exhibition in 1892: 'What shall I do about Maus? I have not written a line ... or would three of the framed Venice do? "Doorway" - "Beggars" - & "Traghetto?" I dont even know that there is time -' 40 However, he satisfactorily arranged for sending impressions for exhibitions in Paris in 1892, Chicago in 1893, and in Buffalo and Glasgow in 1901 - James Cox-Cox (ca 1849- d.1901) lent an impression from his extensive collection to the latter. 41 The World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893 was of particular importance in showing a representative collection of Whistler's work.
42: Chicago 1900 (cat. nos. 136b, 135, 135a).
SALES & COLLECTORS
47: Stock books, Colby College, Maine.
48: 5 October 1887, GUW #13014; 13 January 1891, #13068.
Whistler sold a few impressions in later years; in 1900 he sold an impression (in this case it is not certain if it was a 'trial proof') to Wunderlich's of New York for £12.12.0, less than the Fine Art Society had asked a few years earlier, but a good price, considering that this was after Wunderlich's 20 percent discount. 52
At auction in London the prices were also lower. Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891) had owned several proofs, which were sold at auction after his death, and bought by print dealers. Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) bought two 'trial proofs' for £5.2.0 and £7.10.0; Frederick Keppel (1845-1912), 'another trial proof' for £4.4.0; and Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), 'The same, another figure introduced on the steps before the doorway' for £5.5.0. 53
51: 21 October 1892, 7 April and 4 May 1893, GUW #01257, #01258, #01261.
52: 6 April 1900, GUW #07322.
53: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lots 240 - 243).