2021 Fall Larsen Art Auction HUGE Success with Greater than 92% of Lots Sold!

James Abbot McNeill Whistler American 1834-1903

Lot 55

Nocturne: The River at Battersea (Way 5), 1878


First State with margins all around

7.5" x 10.88"

Signed on the stone with artist's butterfly monogram and signed in margin with butterfly signature by hand.

$15,000 - $20,000

SOLD: $30,000

Image size 6.75" x 10.5"  •  Paper size 7.5" x 10.88"

Provenance:  Private Collection, Tucson, Arizona acquired from Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers, Los Angeles, California in 1968

During the 1870s, Whistler developed the type of image for which he became best known—the nocturne, or evening landscape—in scores of oil paintings and lithographs.  Nocturne: The River at Battersea is among his first and most successful experiments in lithography. The atmospheric effects of this haunting image, in which buildings and their reflections seem to dissolve in the dusky light, were enhanced by the technique.

One of five lithotints of the Thames made in 1878, this was drawn from memory at the offices of the printer Thomas Way. The view across the Thames from Whistler's house in Lindsey Row, Chelsea (see Cheyne Walk, Chelsea), had featured in his work for almost twenty years. Prominent are the steeple of St Mary's Church and the smokestacks and clock tower of Morgan Crucible Company, notorious for emissions that contributed to the almost perpetual obscuration of the prospect, the blurring of distant objects, and the complete veiling on nine days out of ten of everything beyond two miles.  Although six impressions were printed in 1878/79, the print was actually published in 1887 as an edition of 100 from the portfolio Notes by Boussod, Valadon, & Co. in Paris.