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The Pantheon from the Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 473
Date: 1893/1894
Medium: etching
Size: 82 x 200 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: no
No. of States: 1
Known impressions: 2
Catalogues: K.429; M.419
Impressions taken from this plate  (2)


This is an exceptionally detailed etching, with great care taken over the tiny details of figures in the park. This makes it all the more surprising that so few impressions were printed.


Only two impressions have been located. Both were printed in black ink on ivory laid paper, one being marked 'Early proof.' and signed with a partially dismembered butterfly (), and a second, having no annotation apart from a tiny butterfly signature (). Joseph Pennell (1860-1926) helped Whistler to print his Paris plates in the summer of 1893 but, unfortunately:
'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. This was in 1893, and it was not until 1900 that he did anything with the plates ...' 7
In July 1900, Whistler printed some of these Paris plates in London with Francis Short (1857-1945), 'whom he rightly regarded as an eminent technician ... whom he trusted and who had a good press, ... And these prints by Short, as far as we know, are the last that were pulled from Whistler's Paris plates. Short offered to re-ground them, but we do not think that Whistler let him do so.' 8 The printing took place on 13 July 1900, and it is possible that The Pantheon from the Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens was printed at that time, but that it was not a success. The tiny butterfly signature on one impression is of a late date ()

8: Ibid., pp. 80-81.