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The Fishing Boat

Impression: Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
Number: 198
Date: 1879/1880
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 157 x 234 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower right (1)
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: 'Second Venice Set', 1886
No. of States: 6
Known impressions: 39
Catalogues: K.208; M.205; W.178
Impressions taken from this plate  (39)


church, fisherman, fishing, lagoon, sailors, sea, ship, worker.


Minor variations in the title and punctuation are as follows:

'The Fishing boat' (1882, Whistler). 1
'Fishing boat ' (1882, Whistler). 2
'Fishing Boat' (1883, FAS). 3
'Fishing boat Venice' (1880s, Whistler). 4
'Fishing-Boat' (1886, Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921)). 5
'The Fishing Boat' (1910, Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932)). 6

'The Fishing Boat' is based on the original and preferred title.

1: Whistler to W. Flower, August 1882, GUW #12989.

2: Whistler to Queen Victoria, 12 Sept.1882, GUW #13072.

3: London FAS 1883 (cat. no. 38).

4: Written on verso of .

5: Wedmore 1886 A[more] (cat. no. 178).

6: Kennedy 1910[more] (cat. no. 208).


In the centre, moored to one of a cluster of posts, lies a fishing boat. Nets hang on a pole between the two masts, with a man sitting in their shade. In the distance, at right, is the dome of a church, and several boats. All are reflected in the waters of the lagoon.


The lagoon, with the cemetery island of San Michele, Venice, Italy. 7

7: Grieve 2000[more], pp.138, 192, fig.171.


Examples of the range of fishing subjects in Whistler's work include individual fishermen in Sketching, No. 2 084 and Man Fishing 404, to fishing boats at the quayside or shore in Billingsgate 051, Fishing Boats, Hastings 163 and Fishing Quay, Ostend 351, and fish-shops or stalls in Fish-Shop, Chelsea 267 and Fish Women, Ostend 349