Filed under: Art
Swann Galleries' auction of Whistler and His Influence on Wednesday, October 27 offered approximately 150 prints by James A. M. Whistler and nearly 20 of these set world auction records, including the sale's top lot, a very early impression of Nocturne, etching and drypoint on Japan paper, 1879-80, which became the most expensive Whistler print ever sold at auction when it brought $282,000.
The moody etching, shown above, was likely one of the first that Whistler made after arriving in Venice. It was estimated to sell for $80,000 to $120,000 and bears his rare butterfly signature. Todd Weyman, Swann Vice President and Director of the Prints & Drawings Department, said, "Setting the record price for any Whistler print shows the quality and scarcity of the material we have been able to gather in the past few seasons."
Among the many other Whistlers that set records in the October 27 sale were a very scarce first state of Rotherhithe, 1860, etching and drypoint, $14,400; Little Smithfield, etching on Japan paper, which had not appeared at auction in the last 20 years, $18,000; Battersea: Dawn, drypoint, 1875, with soft, hazy tones and inky plate edges, $13,200; Fishing-Boats, Hastings, etching and drypoint on Japan paper, 1877, $15,600; Fulham, etching, 1879, one of three etchings Whistler made of the old Putney (or Fulham) toll bridge in 1879 before its destruction, $14,400; Exeter Street, etching, circa 1886-88, $22,800; and Rue des Bon Enfants, Tours, etching and drypoint, 1888, created while he was honeymooning in the Loire Valley, $21,600. The two day sale brought in a total of $2,527,512 with Buyer's Premium.