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James Abbott McNeill Whistler. 1834-1903.

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The Tall Bridge. 1878. Lithotint. Way 9; Levy 19; Spink, Stratis, Tedeschi 12.ii. 10 7/8 x 7 1/4 (sheet 11 1/2 x 9). Proof without the legend below, the letter text having been trimmed, as is frequent. Printed by Way for Piccadilly but never issued. The magazine failed and most of the proofs were destroyed. According to Way, 'it is doubtful if half a dozen copies exist beyond the twelve proofs on mounted Japanese paper.' Fair condition with paper losses at the sheet edges, one extendending into the top of the image, the sheet professioally backed with Japanese paper. A beautiful, delicate printing with the layered applications of the lithotint washes clearly discernible. Signed with the butterfly in the stone. $5,000.
Accompanied by the Ando Hiroshige (1797-1868) woodblock that was apparently a major influence upon Whistler's image, Kyobashi and the Bamboo Bank of the Sumida River. 1956-58. Japanese woodblock print. 13 1/4 x 5 5/8 (vertical oban. Series: 100 Views of Edo. This is plate 76 in the series of 120. Publisher: Uo-Ei. Later printing. Trimmed margins. Excellent color and condition. $5,000 the pair.

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Way wrote: "He used Iithotint also without the prepared half-tint for three of his earliest efforts, and an interesting example is The Tall Bridge, also drawn and printed for 'Piccadilly' but not used; in this instance it is doubtful if half a dozen copies exist beyond the twelve proofs on mounted Japanese paper. It is a tall drawing of two piers of the very quaint old wooden Battersea Bridge, which he pictured so often with the brush, the needle and the chalk. The structure is drawn with firm chalk lines and washes of delicate tone laid over the whole to draw it together, very much as he made a painting in ink upon his Venice plates, only with this difference—that he needed to repeat the painting for each impression of the etching, while what he did upon the stone repeated itself automatically in the printing. -Some proofs were pulled in a pale brownish color, and are particularly beautiful. " T. B. Way, The Print-Collector'a Quarterly, Vol. Ill, No. 8.

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