The Steps, Amsterdam
|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||242 x 166 mm|
|Signed:||butterfly at upper left|
|No. of States:||5|
|Catalogues:||K.403; M.402; W.260|
|Impressions taken from this plate (14)|
Collectors were generous in lending works from their collections to focussed Whistler exhibitions and to large mixed shows. In 1900, Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) lent his impression of The Steps, Amsterdam to a show organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago (). 14 Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) lent one to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1902. 15 Walter Steuben Carter (1824-1904) lent one to the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893 () and the Whistler Memorial show in Boston in 1904. 16
After Whistler's death, impressions were shown in the Memorial Exhibitions, at the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, in Boston in 1904 (as mentioned above), in Paris and London in 1905, the latter lent by King Edward VII, and, lent by Ernest Marsh (fl. 1935), in Rotterdam in 1906. 17
SALES & COLLECTORS
Whistler then sold impressions to two major collectors, Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) and Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), on 4 March 1890. 19 Mansfield's impression of the second state was specially inscribed on the verso, 'chosen for / Howard Mansfield' () and is now in the Library of Congress. Freer's of the third state is likewise inscribed, 'Selected for / Chs. L. Freer.' () and was shown to Frank J. Hecker (1846-1927), who immediately asked if he could buy a set of the Amsterdam etchings. Whistler responded quickly and sent these on 15 May. 20
Whistler also sold impressions to friends including the poet Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), who bought one for £12.12.0 in 1891. 21 And Whistler may have given one to the conductor and composer George Henschel (1850-1934) - it is a fine impression, inscribed on the backboard, ''To / George Henschel- ' (, reproduced below). It was later bought by Theodore de Witt (dates unknown), and given by Lessing Julius Rosenwald (1891-1971) to the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
22: GUW #13804; #13002; B. Whistler to Wunderlich's, #06585; Whistler to Keppel, 23 June 1890, #13064.
23: Chicago 1893 (cat. no. 2263  ).
24: Whistler to Wunderlich, 29 May 1890, GUW #13058.
The Fine Art Society, London, also bought one for £12.12.0 from Whistler on 18 April 1893. 26 Finally Whistler sold one to Siegfried Bing (1838-1905) for the same price on 19 May 1897. 27
25: 21 January- 27 June 1891, GUW #13070.
26: GUW #01259.
27: [19-29 May 1897], GUW #13034.