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James Abbott McNeill Whistler. 1834-1903.

The Thames. 1896. Lithotint with scraping on a prepared half-tint ground. Way 125; Levy 178; Spink, Stratis, Tedeschi 161.iii. 10 3/8 x 7 5/8 inches 262 x 190 mm(sheet 13 3/4 x 10 11/16). A subtle impression printed in brown/black ink hinged on period VanGelder simili-japon. Possibly a proof(Way recorded 28 lifetime impression) before the posthumous Goulding editions (16 printed on October 16,1903, 33 printed on November 26, 1903 and 40 printed on May 4, 1904) commissioned by Rosalind Birnie Philip. (Way recorded about 28 lifetime impressions.) Monogrammed with the butterfly in the stone. $9,750.

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By mid-February, 1896, Whistler and his wife, Beatrix, occupied one of the upper suites of the Savoy Hotel in London. The view from their windows looked out on to the sweeping panorama of the Thames. "The Thames" is one of Whistler’s most complex and evocative nocturnes. It was his last lithotint and is also believed to be the last image he created during his stay at the Savoy Hotel. The artist worked on the stone for this lithotint over several weeks and eventually achieved to his satisfaction the silvery mists and delicate lights of the Thames at night. Upon seeing this image, Whistler’s friend, art critic Theodore Duret, commented in a letter to the artist that "It is infused with transparency and incredible lightness, and I was astonished by it." In 1900, The Thames won a medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

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