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


Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 231
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 240 x 311 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left (1-2); replaced with new butterfly (3-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 7
Catalogues: K.190; M.187
Impressions taken from this plate  (7)
The copper plate of Traghetto was destroyed, according to a note by Whistler on one impression (). It has not been located. It was a large plate, a different size from any other plate, made specially for Whistler in Venice. 7 Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909) and the Pennells record the history of this plate and the transfer of the composition to a second plate, The Traghetto 233:

7: Getscher 1970[more].

'Mr. Bacher writes that The Traghetto "troubled him very much." He pulled one fine proof and then overworked the plate so that he had to prepare a second one. He had another copper of the same size and thickness made by the Venetian from whom they all got their plates. When this was ready, the first plate was "inked" with white paint, instead of black ink, passed through the press, and a proof pulled. This was placed on the second plate, already varnished, which was then run through the press. The result was "a replica in white upon the black etching ground." Mr. Bacher says that upon the new plate Whistler worked for days and weeks with the first proof before him, that he might find and etch only the lines in the original.' 8