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Whistler's Venice
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  • November 2000
    216 p., 9 1/2 x 11 1/4
    150 b/w + 75 color illus.
    ISBN: 9780300084498
    ISBN-10: 0300084498
  • Cloth: $45.00 sc
Art and Architecture
History

Series Information
The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Whistler's Venice

  • Alastair Grieve

Not available at this time.

Planning a brief stay in Venice to create twelve commissioned etchings, Whistler became enchanted with the beauty of the city in 1879 and remained there for more than a year. He worked in all areas of the city, producing about fifty etchings, a few oils, and, most remarkably, one hundred pastels. This beautifully illustrated book is the first to follow Whistler’s progress through Venice as he made his powerful and evocative portraits of the city. Alongside each of Whistler’s etchings, pastels, and oils are photographs of the actual sites where he made them. Alastair Grieve’s detailed comparisons of Whistler’s works and their corresponding sites reveal much about the artist’s methods and techniques, about the changing fabric of the city, and about Whistler’s genius as a topographical artist. Grieve also compares Whistler’s approach with that of other artists and photographers working in Venice at the same time.

Whistler arrived in Venice bankrupt in the wake of a sensational libel trial against John Ruskin in London. Venice proved both restorative and transforming for Whistler—it released a flood of creativity that enabled him to reestablish his finances, his reputation, and to a degree his personal life. His representations of well-known landmarks, including the church of Santa Maria della Salute and the Rialto Bridge, as well as many minor courts, alleys, and back canals, established a new and original iconography of the city. Upon his return to London, Whistler exhibited his Venice works and gradually reassumed a leading place in the Victorian art avant-garde.

Alastair Grieve is reader in the history of art at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England.