The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 94th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1862
Record 8 of 14

System Number: 11977
Date: 26 June [1862][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
Credit Line: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, Gift of John F. Kraushaar, 1925.539
Document Type: ALS[3]

7A Queens Road West

26 June


Dear Lucas

I daresay you have given us[4] both up and voted us both ungrateful and selfish long ago!- I don't think we are either of us viciously so and over and over again I have intended to write and thank you for the trouble you took with the easel which arrived safely - Enfin! it's the old story, and I am a deuced bad correspondent and George[5] would tell you - but my friendship does not rust as readily as my pen and I should like jolly well to see you again old fellow and indeed this autumn we shall probably return to Paris. In the meantime you ought certainly to run accross [sic] the Channel and let me [p. 2] lead you through the pictures in this great exhibition[6]; - not by the way that there are many there that worth the trouble, but perhaps a week or two you might manage to spend not unpleasantly in London - Will you come? I think we could get you a cheap room - You know that by Dieppe there are return tickets available for one month, for 2 £10.0 - Now then for my news - though I take it, you have heard it already through Fantin[7] - "The White Girl[8]" was refused at the Academy where they only hung the Brittany Sea piece[9] and the Thames Ice Sketch[10]! both of which they have stuck in as bad a place as possible - Nothing daunted I am now exhibiting the White Child at another exposition[11] where she shows herself proudly to all London! [p. 3] that is to all London who goes to see her! She looks grandly in her frame and creates an excitement in the Artistic World here which the Academy did not prevent, or forsee after turning it out I mean - In the catalogue of this exhibition it is marked

"Rejected at the Academy"

What do you say to that! isn't that the way to fight 'em! Besides which it is affiched all over the Town as

[drawing[12] of placard inscribed:]

Whistler's Extraordinary picture the WOMAN IN WHITE


That is done[13] of course by the Directors but certainly it is waging an open war with the Academy, eh?

[p. 4] Adieu Mon cher - George comes from St Petersburg[14] this September - Tom Winans[15] is in England and will be in London in a day or two if he has not already arrived - One thing more you are altogether mistaken if you class Fantin with loafers of the type of Oulevey[16] - Fantin is in every sense of the word a thorough Gentleman - and I remember his telling you apropos of the commission[17] you were giving him that he was very much engaged with some paintings he had then in hand. The more you know Fantin, the greater will be your esteem for him, and you can never think too highly of him both as an Artist and a gentleman. - I am about entering into some agreement with Colnaghi the publisher concerning ten of my etchings[18], which if satisfied will bring [19] me in a pot of gold! - Will it bother you too much to enquire into the etchings that I left for exhibition[20] on the Boulevards, and tell Monsieur Martinet[21] that I would like to know when he intends hanging them again if he has taken them down for the moment. There are fifteen of them, will you see that they are not lost or injured?
Jo sends her love to you and to Madame[22], to whom present my compliments

tout a vous

Jemmie Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  26 June [1862]
Year dated from reference to Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38) (see below).

2.  George Aloysius Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Thorp, Nigel (Editor), Whistler on Art: Selected Letters and Writings 1849-1903 of James McNeill Whistler, Manchester, 1994, and Washington, 1995, no. 5, pp. 10-11.

4.  us
JW and Joanna Hiffernan (b. ca 1843), JW's model and mistress [more]; she had written to Lucas, [9 April 1862], #09186.

5.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

6.  exhibition
International Exhibition, South Kensington Museum, opened on 1 May 1862 (see 'The Pictures at the International Exhibition', The Times, 1 May 1862, p. 11, and 'The Opening Of The Great International Exhibition', The Times, 21 May 1862, p. 11). Apparently Lucas did not come over (see JW's letter to Lucas on 18 October [1862], #09187).

7.  Fantin
Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more].

8.  The White Girl
Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38).

9.  Brittany Sea piece
The Coast of Brittany (YMSM 37), exhibited at 94th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1862.

10.  Thames Ice Sketch
The Thames in Ice (YMSM 36).

11.  exposition
After Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38) was rejected by the Royal Academy in 1862, JW decided to exhibit the picture at a private gallery, the Berners Street Gallery, instead.

12.  drawing
See 'The Woman in White' (M.303).

13.  That is done ... Academy, eh?
Written at right angles to the main text, in the right-hand margin.

14.  St Petersburg
See a further reference to George Whistler's visit in #11977.

15.  Tom Winans
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more].

16.  Oulevey
Henri Charles Oulevay (fl. 1865-1880), painter [more].

17.  commission
See Lucas's diary entry for 10 March 1862: 'In evening to see Whistler & received from him "Nature Morte" (Prunes etc) by Fantin to pay Oulevay's debt -.' Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 131. The commission may have been for Fantin-Latour's Still Life with Fruit (1861).

18.   etchings
JW proposed a publishing venture to the printsellers and art dealers, Colnaghi's, in London. He offered them ten of his etching plates. However, Colnaghi's refused as they considered his price too high.

19.  bring
'bring me in a pot ... Jemmie Whistler' is cross-written over the text on p. 1.

20.   exhibition
In January 1862, JW exhibited his Thames etchings at Martinet's gallery in Paris. Later they were published as a set: A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames, 1871 (the 'Thames Set') (K.38-44, 46, 52, 66, 68, 71, 74-76, 95) (excat 4).

21.  Monsieur Martinet
Louis Martinet (1814-1895), history painter, Directeur des Beaux-Arts [more].

22.  Madame
Octavie Josephine de Macedo-Carvalho (1833-1909), née Marchand, probable mistress of George A. Lucas [more].