Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Look at "Upright Venice" by Whistler

In my June 29 post, I discussed a Bonhams sale of James Abbott McNeill Whistler's superb etching "Upright Venice."  It sold for £9,000, significantly above the high end of its estimate of £3,000 to 5,000.  So far, so good.

Now Swann Galleries is offering the etching in what they identify as the fourth state of four. Different states of an etching are the result of interval changes made to the plate by the artist during the process of printing. No mention was made of any particular state in the July Bonhams sale. Swann gives the edition size as approximately 30, presumably referring only to this fourth state. The published estimate is $30,000 to $50,000, somehow placing the low estimate at approximately twice the strong British sale price achieved in July. 

Is this fourth state really worth so much more? It doesn't appear all that different to me. We'll find out on September 22.

Sale 2254 Lot 134
Upright Venice.

Etching printed in dark brownish black on cream laid paper, circa 1879-80. 256x179 mm; 10 1/8x7 inches. Fourth state (of 4). Edition of approximately 30. Signed with the butterfly and inscribed "imp." in pencil on the tab, lower left. From Twenty-Six Etchings. A superb, early impression, with selective wiping and warm plate tone. Kennedy 205.
Estimate $30,000-50,000
September 24, 2011:  Sold for $75,000

My earlier post on the July sale of this fine etching is here. 


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