The Traghetto, No. 2
|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||243 x 307 mm|
|Signed:||butterfly at lower left (1-3); replaced with a butterfly further up (4-final)|
|Set/Publication:||'First Venice Set', 1880|
|No. of States:||9|
|Catalogues:||K.191; M.188; W.156|
|Impressions taken from this plate (60)|
The copper plate has no maker's mark. It is close in size to the plate for The Dyer 192, and a little bigger than The Garden 194. It may have been made for Whistler in Venice. 11 It was published in Venice, a Series of Twelve Etchings (the 'First Venice Set') by the Fine Art Society, London, in 1880.
11: Getscher 1970[more]
It was cancelled first with two large crosses and then with a stinging butterfly, right across the image, some time between 1889 and 1892.
Frederick Goulding (1842-1909) met Whistler about 1885 and Whistler visited his print workshop :
'He used occasionally to come in to prove a plate and a good many of the Venice plates were defaced in my studio (with the heaviest needles I could find him), and a couple of proofs were taken with the scratches on. I never printed an edition with him ... I think he knew that I was always delighted to give him any help I could; but yet he was careful to bring me a proof, now and again, that he thought I should like. I remember he insisted on the Fine Art Society giving me a proof of one of the Venice plates, because I lacquered the plates when they were defaced. He said: "I have told them they must let you choose a proof, so you must go up and choose one." I did, one of the best proofs of The Traghetto I know!' 12
The cancelled plate was exhibited by the print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851) in Liverpool in 1893, and was then for sale for £26.5.0. 13
13: Liverpool 1893 (cat. no. 2).
The plate was eventually bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) in 1902 and is now in the Freer Gallery of Art. 14
14: Acc. No. 1902.134.