Etching printed in dark, brownish black on antique, ivory laid paper, 1879-80. 208x303 mm; 8 1/4x12 inches. MacDonald's fifth state (of 17), before the addition of the figures to the left of the boys on the boat. An artist's proof in this early state, before the edition of approximately only 30. Signed with the butterfly and inscribed "imp" in pencil on the tab, lower left. From Twenty-Six Etchings. A superb, richly-inked impression of this very scarce etching, with selective wiping in the foreground water and with warm tone throughout.
From the second set of Venice etchings, one of 26 subjects in all (there were 12 etchings in the first set), published in an edition of approximately 30 by Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell, London.
According to MacDonald, San Biagio was probably etched by Whistler in the summer or autumn of 1880. At this time he was staying at the Casa Jankowitz on the Riva San Biagio, along with fellow artists Otto Bacher and Frank Duveneck (see lots 32 and 33); the view shows the beach where his fellow artists kept their boats. San Biagio was likely made around the same time as several other important Venice etchings by Whistler (see lots 24-26). Kennedy 197; Glasgow 237.