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Balustrade, Luxembourg Gardens

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 465
Date: 1892/1894
Medium: etching
Size: 128 x 217 mm
Signed: no
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.427; M.422
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


Balustrade, Luxembourg Gardens is an etching, but the surface of the plate appears to have been damaged by corrosion.


This is extremely rare. Only two impressions of this etching have been located. One was printed in black ink on ivory laid 'antique' (pre-1800) laid paper, with a PRO PATRIA watermark (). The other was printed in black ink on thin cream Asian laid paper, and is trimmed to the platemark and signed on the tab with a butterfly and 'imp.' to show that Whistler printed it (). However, it slipped slightly in the printing, which is particularly obvious in the top third of the image. This rarely happened in Whistler's work, but suggests he was having problems printing in Paris in the 1890s (see , , , ). These could be due to problems with the printing press, or an assistant, or his own health.
It is probable that this was among etchings printed in the summer of 1893, with the assistance of Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), who said that 'the ground, which [Whistler] laid, was bad and came off, and the prints he pulled, after he bit them as far as he could, were in many places weak. Curiously, Whistler was afraid to re-ground them, or to allow Lamour, the old etching material maker in Paris, to do it, though Lamour offered to and sent Whistler and J. re-grounding rollers for the purpose. ' 9

9: Pennell 1921C[more], p. 80.