Nocturne: Palaces

A work made of etching and drypoint in black, with selective wiping of plate tone, on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of etching and drypoint in black, with selective wiping of plate tone, on ivory laid paper.

Date:

1879/80

Artist:

James McNeill Whistler
American, 1834-1903

About this artwork

In developing this image, Whistler exploited plate tone (ink left on the unetched surface of the copper plate) to an extraordinary degree. Etched and incised drypoint lines were used as a framework for painterly inking and wiping of the plate, which allowed for endlessly varied impressions. In fact, each example of Nocturne: Palaces is different, conveying distinctive interpretations of light, darkness, and atmosphere.

The impressions on display represent different states (second and eleventh); ink colors (black and brownish black); and wiping (inky at top and bottom and more nuanced overall plate tone). The earlier, more dramatic impression emphasizes architectural details and the velvety darkness of sky and water, while in the later example building facades are cloaked in mist and the dampness of a Venetian night is palpable.

Currently Off View

Prints and Drawings

Artist

James McNeill Whistler

Title

Nocturne: Palaces

Origin

United States

Date

1879–1880

Medium

Etching and drypoint in black, with selective wiping of plate tone, on ivory laid paper

Dimensions

297 x 200 mm (image, trimmed within plate mark); 307 x 201 mm (sheet, with signature tab)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number

1938.1910

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share