The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Jubilee Art Exhibition, Academy of Arts, Berlin, 1886
Record 1 of 5

System Number: 10920
Date: [14/20 March 1886?][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Henry Graves[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Call Number: f MS A 1412
Credit Line: Published by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University
Document Type: ALS

Dear Mr. Graves -

I am going to send to the Berlin great International Exhibition[3] two paintings - and I am of opinion that, of all others, I should send the Carlyle[4] - as in Germany as you know he is held in great reverence - and they may wish to purchase the picture for their Museum - Will you therefore have it seen to, as to condition, I mean having the stretcher keyed up - the surface nicely passed over with silk handkerchief [p. 2] and then have it perfectly packed and sent to

Mr. Hudson[5] - Hudson's Buildings,
Wilton Road Pimlico. S.W.

Mr. Hudson is the Agent and must have the case on Thursday the 25th. at the very latest[6]. -

Perhaps Mr. Algernon Graves[7] might look in upon me tomorrow morning at about 10. o'clock -

I believe he is my neighbor -

Very truly Yrs

J McNeill Whistler

454. Fulham Road -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [14/20 March 1886?]
Dated from exhibition reference (see below), and the almanac, which confirms that 25 March was a Thursday in March 1886.

2.  Henry Graves
Henry Graves (1806-1892), print dealer and founder of H. Graves and Co. [more].

3.  Berlin great International Exhibition
The [Jubilee Art Exhibition], Academy of Arts, Berlin, 1886, commemorated the centenary of the foundation of the Royal Academy by Frederick the Great. It opened on 15 May, under the patronage of the Emperor, with the Crown Prince as Honorary President (see 'Fine Arts Exhibition of Berlin', Times, 11 March 1886, p. 6). The 'Künstlerfest' was a celebration of the Berlin Artists' Association. Herkomer and Ouless were recommended for gold medals ('The Künstlerfest', Times, 26 June 1886, p. 7). Millais and Leighton were among those awarded medals ('Jubilee Art Exhibition, Berlin', Art Journal, 1886, p. 128).

4.  Carlyle
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137). Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), historian and philosopher [more], started his career by promoting German literature, and his last work was the History of Friedrich II of Prussia, called Frederick the Great (1858-1865). It was therefore appropriate for JW's portrait to be exhibited in Berlin, and it was well received (see M. C. Salaman to the Court and Society Review, [23 June 1886], #11356). JW was disappointed not to receive a gold medal, and blamed Helen Lenoir (1852-1913), née Coupar Black, actress and stage manager [more], for not arranging this. However, although she had business contacts in Berlin and helped him arrange the transport of his two pictures, she had no influence whatsoever on the award of medals (see H. Lenoir to JW, 21 October 1886, #00930). The painting was not bought by the museum, but bought in 1891 by the Corporation of the City of Glasgow for their new Art Gallery.

5.  Mr. Hudson
William Hudson (b. ca 1851), packing case maker and furniture remover [more].

6.  the very latest
Double underlined.

7.  Mr. Algernon Graves
Algernon Graves (1845-1922), of H. Graves and Co., print dealers [more]. He lived at 51 Finborough Road, SW.