The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893
Record 13 of 113

System Number: 03201
Date: [2 August 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Alexander Reid[2]
Place: Glasgow
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 201
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: MsLS[3]


LE         189     

Dear Mr Reid -

There are many things I should have liked to talk to you about, and especially about the Brodequin Jaune[4] - & thinking that you were coming to Paris, I hav[e]n't written hitherto - However, I will not put off longer - My idea is, that these things of mine are becoming more and more worth while - and - it is rather rough on me that I should, (from my willingness to take a sum down) get so little out of the work by which the reputation, which is money to the others, has been made -

Since my Exhibition, already eight or nine of my pictures have changed hands, at at least, an average of ten times what I got for them!

Now, this picture is one of the most in repute, and is continually referred to in the press -

There are many who look upon it as much more important, (than, for instance the "Furred Jacket[5]", which is more of an artists picture) besides being the portrait of a well [p. 2] known lady - instead of an obscure nobody[6].

The public take such a time learning things - that it may take them years to see that my present work is always the best, and that I improve, This is what happened with my etchings, for ten years the Thames set[7] alone would be looked at, and it has taken me that time, to get my present price for the work I am now doing -

This "Brodequin Jaune" then, is one of the best of my possessions - of what the people are pleased to call that period - Wherefore, it seems to me, that you ought to stand me a better chance,

I think you ought to give me either more down - or - the £600 - and then divide the profits - What ever is finally done, I hope, if you do have the picture - that you will see that it goes to Chicago[8] - next year - with the "Furred Jacket" - and the "Princess[9]"[.] I ought to carry everything before me over there - and - am trying to get together a collection - This would be not only be for my good - , but your own - as they seem to be very strong on Whistler -

With kindest[10] regards from us both to yourself & Mrs Reid[11]
Very Sincerely Yrs

J McN Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.



Alexander - Reid Esq
Director of the Societé des Beaux Arts -
227. West George Street.
Glasgow -
[postmark, illegible]
[postmark on verso:] [...] / 8 / 2 AOUT / 92
[postmark on verso:] PARIS À CALAIS [...]


1.  [2 August 1892]
Dated from the postmark recorded by a copyist (see below).

2.  Alexander Reid
Alexander Reid (1854-1936), Glasgow dealer [more]. See his reply, #05137.

3.  MsLS
This is written in the hand of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], but is signed by JW. A copy by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more], appears at #05136, and also in GUL Whistler LB 4/40.

4.  Brodequin Jaune
Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242) was bought by Reid.

5.  Furred Jacket
Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181): Reid had already bought it.

6.  nobody
Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more].

7.  Thames 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).

8.  Chicago
World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893. Reid bought and exhibited all three pictures.

9.  Princess
La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50), was sold by Reid to William Burrell (1861-1958), ship-owner and collector [more].

10.  With kindest
The remainder of the letter is in JW's hand.

11.  Mrs Reid
Harriet Elizabeth Adriana Reid (b. 1865), née Stevenson, wife of the dealer A. Reid [more].