The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Loan Collections, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1894
Record 2 of 2

System Number: 01506
Date: 9 January 1894
Author: Charles Lang Freer[1]
Place: Detroit
Recipient: JW
Place: Paris
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F438
Document Type: ALS[2]

Detroit, Michigan.

January 9th 1894.

My dear Mr. Whistler,

This will doubtless seem to you a very late hour for me to mention the Worlds Fair[3] of 1893. But accepting the old adage of better late than never I now want to thank you for the very great pleasure I received from your paintings and etchings then shown - The Yellow Buskin[4], The Fur Jacket and Nocturne, Valparaiso seemed supremely fine - Of the etchings and dry points and their selection, arrangement and location too much favorably cannot be said -

Your work of course, completely overshadowed everything in the Fine Arts Department, and gave pleasure and inspiration to many more people than you imagine - The management was extremely anxious to have me send The Balcony[5] and I wish now that I had done so - But at the time pictures were being gathered together for the Fair, The Balcony had just returned [p. 2] from the opening exhibition of the new building of the Society of American Artists, where the wood panel had checked considerably, and I was afraid of similar danger - dampness - in the building at Chicago - Time proved however, that the fine arts building at Chicago was perfectly safe. I had nine other paintings there besides some prints and all were returned unharmed. I was happy to receive from you, through Mr. Kennedy[6], the charming little proof of the engraving[7] of The Balcony: accept please my best thanks.

What shall I say concerning the delightful set of photographs[8] of your paintings which you have caused to be issued? And also those wonderful lithographs recently received - Well, I presume so much has already been said in their praise that further comments coming from me might seem to you presumpt[u]ous, so I will simply say thank you, for the delight they have given my friends and myself -

When am I to to have impressions from your retouched Venetian plates[9] and the new French plates[10] on which I hear you have [p. 3] been recently working - You are reserving selected impressions from all of these plates for me I trust -

As I told you in London I have so much trouble to get satisfactory proofs from the dealers, I would greatly prefer to purchase direct from you, and you can depend upon my taking at least one impression of each of your etchings, dry points and lithographs - Will it trouble you too much to select and forward to me accordingly?

Life, in Paris, I hope proves very agreeable to both Mrs Whistler[11] and yourself and you are both enjoying good health, I trust, with cordial greetings,

Faithfully yours,

Charles L. Freer.

James McNeil Whistler, Esq -

P. S. Please note change of address to my new residence 33 Ferry Avenue - instead of the old 77 Alfred St.

C. L. F.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Charles Lang Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

2.  ALS
Published in Merrill, Linda, With Kindest Regards. The Correspondence of Charles Lang Freer and James McNeill Whistler, 1890-1903, Washington and London, 1995, no. 14, pp. 89-91.

3.  Worlds Fair
World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893.

4.  Yellow Buskin...
Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242) was exhibited in Chicago in 1893 as 'The Lady with the Yellow Buskin'; Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181); Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay (YMSM 76).

5.  The Balcony
Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56).

6.  Mr. Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

7.  engraving
Wood engraving after Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56).

8.  set of photographs
Mounted and signed photographs of JW's paintings, mostly those exhibited in Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces, Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892.

9.  Venetian plates
Mr Whistler's Etchings of Venice, 1880 (the first 'Venice Set') (K. 183-189, 191-195). (excat 5).

10.  French plates
'Renaissance set', 1888 (K.368-402) (excat 9).

11.  Mrs Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].