The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 6th Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1882
Record 10 of 12

System Number: 07109
Date: [24/28 July 1882][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edmund Yates[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1099
Document Type: ALS

Atlas -

Have you seen the woodcuts in the Illustrated London News[3] of last week? -

I discover to my chagrin that a small monstrosity by way of new libel on my painting in the Grosvenor[4] has found a place in that largely circulated journal -

Surely this must have occurred through what is called the sleeping partner of the firm - - for doubtless the Art Director of your Contemporary can at least read, and would scarcely have offered, as the "Blue Girl," what in the Catalogue is entitled "Arrangement in Black & Red" -

In supposed bitterness of heart and in the Character of the misunderstood I may cry out that the People see not! - but here we [p. 2] have the blind[5] led by the Color blind - and the whole boiling tumble into my ditch! - which is rough on all of us -

Useless perhaps in these days of aesthetic artisans and cultivated woodcutters to complain of the ugly work - for probably the original itself does not convey an impression of beauty to the culture crowded craftsman employed in translating us - Still I submit that - however faintly - there is yet suggested a less brutal akwardness [sic] of young lady - a less medical condition of drivel - a less stolid capacity for murder than is to be propagated to the four quarters of the globe as the truth respecting Mr. Whistler's picture, and consequent easy reason for his "getting himself disliked" by a discriminating Public -

[butterfly signature]

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1.  [24/8 July 1882]
Dated by reference to the Illustrated London News (see below). A draft of this letter is #07110.

2.  Edmund Yates
Edmund Hodgson Yates (1831-1894), novelist, 'Atlas' columnist and editor-proprietor of the World [more].

3.  Illustrated London News
Illustrated London News, 22 July 1882, wood engraving by R. Hallward, wrongly entitled 'The Blue Girl', actually shows Harmony in Black and Red (YMSM 236).

4.  painting in the Grosvenor
Scherzo in Blue: The Blue Girl (YMSM 226) and Harmony in Black and Red (YMSM 236) were exhibited in the 6th Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1882.

5.  blind
JW alludes to Matthew 15:14 - 'Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.'