Glass-Furnace, Murano

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Glass-Furnace, Murano, drypoint with plate tone and burnishing, 1879-80, signed with the butterfly on the tab and annotated “imp”, also signed in cursive in pencil verso, also titled by the artist (“Furnace Murano”) and signed with the butterfly on the mat underneath the print, also numbered No. 1 twice on the mat).  Also with a dealers inventory number D (possibly Dowdeswell?)1213 in pencil verso. Reference: Kennedy 217, first state (of 4).  In excellent condition, trimmed by the artist just outside of the platemark and around the tab. Printed in brown ink on laid paper with a Strasbourg Lily pendant 4 watermark.

A fine, crisp impression of this great rarity, with much burr on the drypoint work, and carefully wiped plate tone.

This impression is before the slanting lines to the right of the door or window below at the left, and also at the right of the second window above, and before the definition of the head of the man opposite to the one seated; also before the lengthening of the lines above his shoulder.  This first state impression is stronger than the other known first state impressions (at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Library of Congress, both unsigned), so it may be the first proof printed (thus perhaps accounting for the notation No. 1 on the original mat).

Although Glass-Furnace, Murano was made in Venice at the same time as Whistler made the prints for his published Venice sets, he did not publish Glass-Furnace, Murano; hence it is rare  – only about half a dozen impressions are known.


Whistler - butterfly and title on mat

Whistler - signature on verso