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

The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2

Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 444
Date: 1889/1890
Medium: etching
Size: 128 x 178 mm
Signed: butterfly at upper left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.426; M.423
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)
The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 probably dates from 1889. Stylistically, it could have a wider possible date, between 1888 and 1894.
The copper plate is of a similar size to many plates used between 1887 and 1889. The etched butterfly on a shaded trefoil indicates a date shortly after Whistler's marriage to Beatrice Whistler (1857-1896) on 11 August 1888.
The costumes of the women suggest a date of 1889/1890 - assuming ladies sitting in the Luxembourg Gardens dressed fashionably.
The scene was etched in late Spring, summer or early autumn, with trees in full leaf. Whistler was in Paris frequently and visits are recorded during his honeymoon in August 1888; in late April 1889, possibly in April 1890, in June and September 1891 and more or less pemanently from 1892-1894. The most likely date for The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 is April 1889 although the following year is also possible.
Whistler etched a series of views in the gardens including Under the Statue, Luxembourg Gardens 464, The Band, Luxembourg Gardens 466, Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens 443, Balustrade, Luxembourg Gardens 465, Bébés, Jardin du Luxembourg 463, The Pantheon from the Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens 473 and Polichinelle, Jardin du Luxembourg 467. He drew comparable lithographs in the Jardins du Luxembourg - The Pantheon, from the terrace of the Luxembourg Gardens c070 and The Terrace, Luxembourg c087 - in November 1893 and July 1894.
Comparing these lithographs to the etchings, Lochnan assumed The Little Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 dated from 1893:
'Whistler appears to have been interested initially in comparing the effects which could be obtained in the two media, and made several lithographs and etchings on the same themes in 1893-4. The etching Bébes, Luxembourg Gardens ... may be compared to the lithograph Nursemaids: Les Bonnes du Luxembourg ...; the lithograph The Pantheon from the Terrace of the Luxembourg Gardens ... to the etching Pantheon, Luxembourg Gardens ..., and the lithograph The Terrace, Luxembourg ... to the etching, Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No. 2 ... By January, 1894, Whistler had made the transition. When Kennedy wrote to Whistler early in the New Year to inquire about recent etchings, Whistler replied saying, "I don't know about etchings just now I am greatly interested in lithographs."' 1
However, although it is difficult to be absolutely certain, it appears that the Luxembourg etchings, and Whistler's other late Paris subjects, cover a wider date range, between 1888 and 1898 and this one is from the earlier period, probably in 1889.