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The Two Doorways

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 221
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 204 x 296 mm
Signed: butterfly at left (4-final)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'First Venice Set', 1880
No. of States: 13
Known impressions: 54
Catalogues: K.193; M.190; W.158
Impressions taken from this plate  (54)


Thirteen states are known before cancellation, which took place in two stages.

State 1

Etching: K1930102
There is no signature or inscription.
The buildings and canal are lightly indicated.
In an Appendix, Kennedy added a state, which he described as earlier than the original first state, but he did not illustrate his original first state. 10 Two early proofs of the first state of The Two Doorways have been located, the impression illustrated here, inscribed (possibly by Whistler) '1st. State - 1st impression' () and the other inscribed '1st state 2nd proof' (). It is likely that they were the impressions seen by Kennedy and misidentified as two different states.

10: Kennedy 1910[more], (cat. no. 193, state I and App.).

State 2

Etching: K1930202
Considerable detail and shading are added throughout the image; a gondola and two men are in front of the open doorway at left.

State 3

Etching: K19302a
The man at the left side of the open doorway is removed, along with most of the gondola and part of the man at right, who has been partly redrawn; there is new dark shading above the partly drawn figures inside the doorway.

This impression has not been located; it is reproduced from an additional plate in a copy of Kennedy's catalogue. 11

11: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 193, state 2a/5) - copy in a private collection.

State 4

Etching: K1930311
Signed with a butterfly to left of the open doorway.
The gondola and the two men standing in front of the doorway are completely removed; there is a man on the steps, bending toward the left; the partly drawn figures inside the doorway are replaced by the silhouette of a woman at the centre and a child sitting by the right wall of the doorway; there is new heavy shading inside the entire open doorway and considerable additional shading throughout the composition, most notably on the closed doorway, the reflections in the water, all building walls and the chimney pot at right; two prows of boats or gondolas and a gondola with a gondolier are added in the background at right.

State 5

Etching: K1930304
Fine lines are added to the shading inside the open doorway; the area just above and to right of the lantern is darkened; the child at the right side of the doorway wears a large dark hat and now appears to be standing and leaning against the wall.
Due to variations in inking and wear on the plate, the dark hat of the child is less prominent on some impressions (i.e. ).

State 6

Etching: K1930308
The child at the right side of the doorway is less distinct, and now appears to hold a flat basket or tray, and his dark hat has been removed or worn away.

State 7

Etching: K1930405
Fine lines are added to the shading within the doorway and to the figure of the bending man; the top of the man's cap is now darkened; several left to right diagonals (\\\) are added to the wall to left of the bending man, just above the top step.
The silhouetted figure within the doorway is more or less distinct, depending on the inking of the plate.

State 8

Etching: K1930z02
Shading on and within the open doorway is rubbed down, making all the figures indistinct; there is new shading on the lantern within the doorway.

The impression illustrated has the collector's mark of Alfred Beurdeley (1847-1919) (Lugt 421) stamped on the lower left corner; 12

12: Frits Lugt, Les Marques de Collections de Dessins & d'Estampes (1921, 1956) online at

State 9

Etching: K1930503
The bending man has a white beard and a white hat; the child at the right side of the doorway is redrawn, and now stands with her back against the wall, holding a round-bottomed basket; the shading on the window above and between the two doorways is altered, being lightened at upper right and with new lines added at lower right; fine diagonal lines are added to the reflections below the wall between the doorways.

State 10

Etching: K1930603
A girl facing front, holding a basket, replaces the child standing with her back against the wall on the right side of the doorway; a shadowy figure, wearing a hat, is added to left of the girl; the lantern in the doorway is slightly enlarged; new vertical and diagonal shading is added to reflections on the water in the foreground at left.

State 11

Etching: K1930611
The face and beard of the bending man are narrowed, and his hat projects over them.

State 12

Etching: K1930701
Fine shading is added to dark areas within the open doorway; the lantern within the doorway is further enlarged, making it wider with an overhanging top.

State 13

Etching: K1930604
The shape of the lantern within the doorway is redefined again, with inward-sloping sides, a large central panel and two side panels; the hair and facial features of the girl standing at right in the doorway are more distinctly delineated.

State 13 (cancelled a)

Etching: K1930801
Cancelled with irregular diagonal lines, two crossed at upper left.

State 13 (cancelled b)

Etching: K1930802
Further cancelled with a large butterfly at upper right, with a long sting extending to the left.