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James McNeill Whistler , (American, 1834-1903)

Etching on paper
H: 30.3 W: 23.7 cm
United States

Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1887.21

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As a young artist, Whistler generally wiped the surface of his printing plates clean before pulling them through the press, creating impressions that clearly revealed his meticulous line work. In the 1870s, Whistler began to experiment with different ways of inking his plates, often leaving excess ink on the surface of the plate in order to create subtle tonal effects such as the shadow covering the canal in the foreground of Garden. By 1880, Whistler had become a master printer. He could make remarkably different impressions of a print by varying the wiping of his plate, the paper he printed on, or the color and viscosity of his inks.

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