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Laguna with Steamers and Gondolas

Robert Frederick Blum

American Art

Although interested in Japanese art since his youth, Robert Blum developed a more sophisticated understanding of its aesthetics through his close contact with James McNeill Whistler in Venice—the setting of this work—during the summer of 1880. From Whistler he learned to create compositional tensions between blank areas and those with motifs, as well as to achieve tonal variations in etching with sketchy lines and hand-inked plates. The latter technique produced the subtle grays in the sky of this work.
MEDIUM Etching in black ink on cream, medium thick, slightly textured wove Japan paper
DATES 1885
DIMENSIONS sheet: 10 5/16 x 15 3/8 in. (26.2 x 39.1 cm) image: 7 5/8 x 8 7/16 in. (19.4 x 21.4 cm)
SIGNATURE Etched lower left: "Blum / 85 Venice" and stamped in red below lower right corner of image: "Blum" within square
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed in pencil at lower left of sheet: "261" Artist's stamp in lower margin
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of the Cincinnati Museum Association
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