The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 4th [Exhibition], Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1894
Record 7 of 35

System Number: 13510
Date: [3 March 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Alexander Reid[2]
Place: [Glasgow]
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 239
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac. Paris -

I am so awfully busy! - Scarcely time for this short answer to your letter[4] now I am afraid a couple of weeks old -

Mr Gerald Potter[5] (about whom you asked,) one of the Art Patron picture dealers has just sold the Little White Girl & the Nocturne "Blue & Silver, Cremorne Lights", for fourteen hundred pounds in a lump - He was asking £1200 for the "Little White Girl" by itself - but one man brought the two pictures down, offering £1000 for the Little White Girl alone or £1400 for both. - (Your 400. wasnt in it.)

So you see the Whistlers are daily looking up - and these works which the people were forbidden to buy from me[6] by Mr Ruskin[7], Mr B. Jones & the Attorney Genl of England, are bringing thousands to the pedling [sic] scoundrels who, in the guise of Protectors of Art (!) are making incomes and taking their [families] [p. 2] to the Engardine[8] on my labour - my brain - my name! -

Mr Potter gave me £150. for the little White Girl - or perhaps only 100 - I forget - for the Nocturne fifty - or may be thirty - - Good business -

However that sort of thing is nearly over - Most of that lot are pretty well gone out of the Country - thank the Lord! - Why do you know that at least seventeen of these Whistlers have been sold since I have been here - the mass of these since my Exhibition[9] - and most of these gone away for ever! - So that's all right! - There are only three or four left in London now - and those belong to men who won't sell - Mr Alexander[10] - Louis Huth - Lord Battersea - Graham Robertson - -

I have still the two you know - and now is your time to buy the "Fire Wheel"[11] for £1000 - it will soon be twelve hundred - & then fifteen. - It is looking splendid!

I must rush off to my work -

I cannot think of any Exhibition but the Salon[12] at present -

Very faithfully

J McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [3 March 1894]
Dated by reference to other correspondence, and the Salon.

2.  Alexander Reid
Alexander Reid (1854-1936), Glasgow dealer [more].

3.  ALS
There is a copy of this letter by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more], undated, #03205; and a fragmentary copy of paragraph five; undated, #02683.

4.  your letter
This could be #02684, of 12 February 1894, of which only a fragment survives.

5.  Mr Gerald Potter
John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more]. Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52), and Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115), were bought by Arthur ('Peter') Haythorne Studd (1863-1919), painter and collector [more], in 1893 for £1400.

6.  me
Double underlined.

7.  Mr Ruskin...
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]; Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898), painter and designer [more], who testifed at the libel trial for Ruskin; and Sir John Holker (1828-1882), Attorney General, counsel for John Ruskin [more].

8.  to the Engardine
San Moritz was the chief spa and holiday resort in this, the Swiss portion of the In Valley.

9.  Exhibition
Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces, Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892.

10.  Mr Alexander...
William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916), banker and patron [more]; Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more]; Cyril Flower (1843-1907), barrister, Liberal MP, 1st Baron Battersea [more]; and Walford Graham Robertson (1867-1948), painter, designer and collector [more].

11.  Fire Wheel
Nocturne: Black and Gold - The Fire Wheel (YMSM 169). It was bought by Studd in early 1896 for 1000 guineas (see #09745).

12.  Salon
4th Exhibition, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1894.