Label Text: "Prints have always been desired as good substitutes when artists’ paintings are not attainable. When Peter von Halm created this sensitive, faithful adaptation of James Whistler’s painting of the same subject he was interpreting one of the most famous works in the world. It is an image fraught with emotion and history. In 1877, the painting was at the center of Whistler’s libel lawsuit against the critic, James Ruskin. Whistler’s “nocturne,”
a type of interpretive landscape, was scoffed at by some as an unfathomable tonal mystery. At the trial itself, the judge actually asked Whistler which part of the image depicted the bridge. By the 1890s, however, the painting was considered a modern masterwork.
There was also nostalgia for the bridge itself when this print was made. The structure depicted by Whistler never existed. His bridge is an elongated exaggeration in the then trending Japanese style. Von Halm probably referred to the real, squat bridge in the little drawing in the bottom left margin. That bridge was demolished more than a decade before this print was made (written by Nancy Sojka for Passion on Paper: Masterly Prints from the KIA Collection, 2018)."