Search

A concrete cantilevered building against blue sky and green landscaping

A large green wall with oil paintings in gold frames above a tiled floor

A museum interior space with paintings and concrete walls and stairs

A concrete-walled lobby with windows, a tiled floor, and a circular desk

The top of a concrete spiral staircase with a wooden railing

A tall tree is the focal point of a garden in between two concrete buildings

About arrow_back

Admission for everyone is always free! Check here for current hours and more.

A concrete cantilevered building against blue sky and green landscaping

Collections arrow_back

The Johnson Museum holds more than 40,000 works in its collection from around the world.

A large green wall with oil paintings in gold frames above a tiled floor

Exhibitions arrow_back

Check out what’s on view this season at the Museum and look back through our history.

A museum interior space with paintings and concrete walls and stairs

Events arrow_back

Free events for everyone, plus special programs for students, families, and more!

A concrete-walled lobby with windows, a tiled floor, and a circular desk

Learn arrow_back

The Johnson Museum actively contributes to the intellectual life of our campus and community.

The top of a concrete spiral staircase with a wooden railing

Support arrow_back

Help the Johnson Museum continue its legacy by making a gift today.

A tall tree is the focal point of a garden in between two concrete buildings

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

(American, 1834–1903)

Square House, Amsterdam

View All Works

Object Details

Artist

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Date

1889

Medium

Etching on laid paper

Dimensions

Sheet/plate: 9 × 6 7/8 inches (22.9 × 17.5 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of William P. Chapman, Jr., Class of 1895

Object
Number

57.254

These diaphanous etchings of dwellings show Whistler’s tendency to avoid the great architectural m(…)

These diaphanous etchings of dwellings show Whistler’s tendency to avoid the great architectural monuments normally shown in city views, and demonstrate a rather similar approach to portraying houses from two different European contexts. In The Balcony, from Whistler’s Venice etchings, he uses the symmetricality and flatness of the palazzo façade as a stage for the elegantly dressed woman in the doorway, a figure he reworked more than a dozen times. Toward the end of the same decade, Square House, Amsterdam finds Whistler applying much the same technique to a depiction of a house in the so-called “Venice of the North.” However, in lieu of the classicizing symmetry seen in the Venetian house, Whistler is taken by the irregular grid of the Dutch house façade; this ultimately offers a different sort of balance. Common to both, however, is the proximity of the canal below, which not only reflects the facades, extending the verticality of each, but also removes any semblance of architectonic support, causing these buildings of brick, stone, and wood to float in the air. Despite Whistler’s modernist sensibility of rendering the materiality of the city immaterial, certain aspects of his drawing technique may have been influenced by his study of preliminary drawings and etchings of Venice by his great vedutisti forebears, Canaletto and Guardi, an awareness hardly surprising in such an avid student of etching.

(Andrew C. Weislogel, “Mirror of the City: The Printed View in Italy and Beyond, 1450–1940,” catalogue accompanying an exhibition organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, curated by Andrew C. Weislogel and Stuart M. Blumin, and presented at the Johnson Museum August 11–December 23, 2012)

Discover More

Lo mismo en otras partes (The same thing elsewhere), Plate 23 of “The Disasters of War”

Francisco José de Goya, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

Shanties, Bridgeport

John Henry Twachtman

Harvest

Charles Wilbert White

Create an account

Please take a moment to fill your information to create your account.

Reset Password

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive mail with link to set new password.

Save Artwork

Save the artwork in any of your exhibitions or create a new one.

You have not made any exhibitions.

Create New Exhibition

Create New Exhibition