The Riva, No. 2, One of the 'Twenty-six Etchings,' or the 'Second Venice Set'

Accession Number

The Riva, No. 2, One of the 'Twenty-six Etchings,' or the 'Second Venice Set'

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
etching and drypoint, printed in warm black ink on laid paper, trimmed to platem

8 3/8 in. x 12 1/16 in. ( 21.2 cm x 30.7 cm )

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
The Riva, No. 2, from Twenty-six Etchings, or the
Second Venice Set
Etching and drypoint
First state of two (Kennedy 206)
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1954/1.389
This is one of two views Whistler created of the sweeping Riva degli Schiavoni, the broad promenade that extends eastwards from the Piazzetta and Doges’ Palace; the domes of St. Mark’s cathedral are visible at the extreme right. The Riva, No. 2 was drawn from the window of Whistler’s new, cheaper lodgings at the Casa Jankovitz, to which, on the recommendation of Otto Bacher, another American artist whom he met in Venice, Whistler and Maud Franklin had relocated from their rooms on the Grand Canal. Both Bacher, also a guest there, and Whistler, who hated being distracted by others when he was working, liked to sketch from the windows. Bacher had with him a small printing press that he made available to Whistler for taking proofs of his plates, and his account of Whistler in Venice provides much interesting detail about his working methods and concerns.
Margaret Watson Parker, who was interested in Whistler’s variations in printing, acquired three impressions of this view (two of The Riva, No. 1 and this impression of The Riva, No. 2). This one has the stamp of the Royal Library at Windsor, indicating that it is an impression from Queen Victoria’s collection.

Subject matter
When Whistler first arrived in Venice, he took rooms in the Palazzo Rezzonico on the Grand Canal. Those rooms proved too expensive and after Otto Henry Bacher and Frank Duveneck arrived in Venice Whistler and Maud moved to rooms near San Biagio at the Casa Jankovitz, just off the Riva degli Schiavoni. Seen in reverse, this view looks up the Riva towards St. Marks, the domes of which are visible at the far right.

Physical Description
A view of a city along the edge of water sweeps from the foreground towards the right in the distance. Along quays, bridges and promenades can be seen groupoings of people walking and in conversation. Boats populate the water's edge: smaller boats in the foreground, larger multi-masted ships in the distance.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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canals (waterways)
cityscapes (representations)
groups of people

& Author Notes

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