The Dance House: Nocturne
|Medium:||etching and drypoint|
|Size:||274 x 169 mm|
|No. of States:||6|
|Catalogues:||K.408; M.407; W.265|
|Impressions taken from this plate (17)|
One impression was shown at the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers in London in 1899, when Whistler was President (possibly , or ). 22 An art critic remarked: 'This master of the etched line - in my opinion - the greatest we have yet had - almost surpasses himself in four or five of these things. ... In the "Nocturne, Amsterdam" we get the insight of a man who seems to be able to steal the very spirit from the night.' 23 R.A.M. Stevenson added:
Impressions were shown in the comprehensive Memorial Exhibitions held after Whistler's death, in 1904 at the Grolier Club, New York, and, again lent by Mansfield, the Copley Society show in Boston in the same year; and in Paris and, lent by Ernest Marsh (fl. 1935), in London in 1905. 27
SALES & COLLECTORS
He also sold directly to several collectors in March 1890: John Postle Heseltine (1843-1929), Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) (), and Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (). 30 Both Freer's and Mansfield's impressions are very beautiful, and are dedicated to the collectors. Mansfield's in addition is marked with three tiny 'o' marks on the verso, possibly indicating Whistler's approval. Freer showed his Amsterdam etchings to Frank J. Hecker (1846-1927), and reported to Whistler: 'They completely charmed him and he requested me to if possible, secure copies for him of all those I have'. 31 Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896) replied on Whistler's behalf: 'The proof of "the Mill" is the last one of that state of the plate; and I find there is not a proof of the Nocturne with the figures - However Mr. Hecker can return it - when Mr Whistler prints some more -.' 32
Turning his attention to American dealers, Whistler sold two impressions 'as you desired ... some of them are on Japanese paper' on 3 April 1890 to Hermann Wunderlich (ca 1839- d.1892). 33 These were listed as 'The Nocturne. 1 (Before Figures) 18 gs' (£18.18.0) and '1 (After Figures)'. However, Wunderlich's appear to have returned the latter. 34 One impression marked 'for Freer' was not actually bought by Freer; Whistler added a second dedication, to Wunderlich, and it was bought by Wunderlich's and eventually sold to John Caldwell (fl. 1887-1907) (). A second impression with Wunderlich dedication went to George Washington Vanderbilt (1862-1914) ().
On 9 April 1890 Whistler sold one to Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) of F. Keppel & Co. at the usual price of £15.15.0, less 20 per cent discount. 35 It was listed as 'No 4' in a group of eleven prints bought by Keppel, and this number is written on the impression printed on 25 February, and bought by Albert W. Scholle (1860-1917) (). Other American collectors include Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916), who owned one by 1900 () and Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), who owned a superb impression ().
28: GUW #13039; #13804; #13002.
29: [13 March 1890], GUW #03602.
30: GUW #13093, #13065, #13047.
31: 28 April 1890, GUW #01501.
32: 15 May 1890, GUW #11667.
33: B. Whistler to H. Wunderlich, GUW #06585.
34: GUW #13057, #13058.
35: 23 June 1890, GUW #13064.
36: Whistler to S. Kensington Museum, 2 July 1890, GUW #13044.
Several impressions were still in the studio at Whistler's death in 1903, and were bequeathed to Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) (, , , all bequeathed to the University of Glasgow, and , which she gave to the University in 1935).
37: GUW #13040.